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Collaborative Poetry

Poetry is lovely to read, but is it difficult to write? We decided to come up with a poem together and find out!

Sky Friends

I ran down the stairs and almost twisted my ankle
as I dodged the armadillo
at the bottom of the stairs. No time to monkey
around as I was finally going to meet Odin
at the beach to go parasailing
in the sky so turquoise.

Up in the air above and below the turquoise.
The winds caressed my ankle,
I didn’t want this parasailing
to end. I’m reminded I need to bake an armadillo
cake for Odin.
At the end I disentangle myself from the harness like a quick monkey.

To the store I go and get some grocery money from the ceramic monkey
with its eyes both turquoise.
Such a sweet tooth that Odin
A grocery cart almost bangs my ankle
and I roll away like an armadillo.
Already I’m dreaming of going again, parasailing.

Luckily, I’m fortunate when I go parasailing
my attitude is eager like a monkey
playing with a curious armadillo.
The beach is covered with jellyfish pulsing turquoise,
And I fear that I will get stung sharply in my ankle,
But my best friend arrives to carry me in his wheelbarrow—thanks be to Odin!

He is full of spice and spunk, that Odin
As he danced with the clouds and went upside-down parasailing
Until he got mixed up and crossed his ankle,
Dove into the water like a cheeky monkey
Reaching for a banana that is not quite ripe, and yellowish-turquoise.
He curled up tightly when he smacked the water, like an armored armadillo.

He rose up victorious, no longer a shy armadillo
He was clever and brave, my Odin.
Shiny droplets showered him with waves of turquoise
As a bulbous jellyfish swam across his back, pulsing and parasailing.
He dove deep, deep, into the depths and I watched him monkey
Around with a shell, to sneakily catch the jellyfish with his ankle!

We waded ankle-deep to the beach, thinking about cake, and parasailing.
My friend Odin may be a monkey,
But he is a brave and loyal friend, with turquoise eyes and the clever wits of an armadillo.

– Heather McCammond Watts & Tom Malinowski
September 24, 2019

It had been awhile since we had written a poem, much less a sestina or in collaboration with someone else! The 39-line poem follows a specific pattern of using six words on each line. Although the form has a distinct structure, we found it liberating and open to whimsical creativity. Having one give prompts to the other to come up with each line of six words made it more fun. Here are some examples to get those brain gears moving:

Name unlike any other…
Color not found in the rainbow…
A non-domesticated animal…
Word that describes movement…
Something close at hand…
What do you carry…

Poetry can help us understand the world and ourselves.

Empathy and insight are improved among so many topics – time, cultural history, memory, personal growth, and love.

Although you may have written a poem or two, have you ever collaborated on one?

Collaboration allows brainstorming, value, and equal partaking. Plus, it’s exciting to solve a challenge with someone rather than work alone.

For inspiration on poetry writing or reading , look no further!

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