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prompt 201 1000 birds

February 20, 2014

Well there was a prompt in mind to do, BUT THEN THE INTERNET WENT AWAY, and besides things changed in big ways, both far and near. So now this is something else (along with my apology for being a day late here).

Tell us your version of the story of a thousand birds (referring not quite literally to the Peter Sis book, The Conference of the Birds). Don’t know that book, that story, based upon the classic twelfth-century Persian epic poem? That’s just fine. Go ahead and imagine a story of your own!

What’s the condition of the world? How do the birds gather to consider what if anything to do? What might that conversation be? What along their thread are their doubts, confusions and fears? What might keep them going? What are the pains of discovery? What confusions, what temptations, what losses? Any remedies? What about understanding? What about love? What questions are asked, what questions answered? What color is the sky, the river, the rain, the earth?

Examine and describe what details you choose to include. Take on just some smaller part of a story if you wish. Offered here are only a few suggestions. You make up what you will. And while epic in scope, keep in mind that this poem translation was done in perhaps 1000 words or so, and you need not be even that much epic. Just take a smaller bite of the pie as you wish.

Story people, this should be cake for you. Not-story people, then consider how broad can you be with as few words as possible. Birds don’t speak in complex sentences! Simple, concise is good.

And yes, of course, this poem-tale is allegorical, howsoever you wish for it to be.

Not sure how to begin? Try this. Write little snippets of ideas or prose. Let them build up for a time. Then review, condense, looking for the poetic sense of story within. See what you get. And as you begin, progress, if your words seem to be leaning another way, about fish instead of birds, then fine, follow your language trail. And remember, you needn’t “justify” any positions or statements your poem makes – it is what it is, allow it to be.

This is a story-prose-poem if you haven’t already guessed. Make it something we’ll remember. Your hand has the pen. Fly.

Lastly here’s one line from that book. I think it applies.

Love loves difficult things.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2014 5:30 pm

    Great prompt, Neil.

    Here’s my free floating verses

  2. February 20, 2014 8:32 pm

    Thank you for the prompt, Neil.

    http://wordrustling.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/hear-us-a-haibun/

  3. February 21, 2014 12:09 am

    Although a bit long, I love making myth,

    http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/love-loves-difficult-things/

    Elizabeth

  4. February 21, 2014 12:28 am

    A poor pastiche: http://vivinfrance.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/11245/

    Thank you for introducing me to a fabulous and inspiring read, Neil. I haven’t done it justice, but will probably try again … and again …

  5. February 21, 2014 8:18 am

    Here’s a mean idea to call my own:

    http://ravenswingpoetry.com/2014/02/21/king-of-birds/

    -Nicole

  6. February 21, 2014 11:17 am

    What do we talk about when we are still young enough to believe the stories we are told?
    Not 1,oo 0 birds, but a thousand thoughts and feelings that tumble out of our heads and into the midnight darkness.

    Marianv.blog.co.uk

    • February 21, 2014 11:59 am

      Do all these small losses prepare us for the big loss? I think they do. I really like where you took this prompt. Very nice.

    • February 21, 2014 5:57 pm

      Wouldn’t we be rich if we had a nickel for every one of thoughts and feelings? Instead, we could spend a lifetime trying to remember only a few. Thanks Marian,

      Elizabeth

    • February 23, 2014 5:54 pm

      A very human story. Thanks Marian.

  7. February 21, 2014 11:38 am

    Shades of Hitchcock’s “The Birds” I don’t know the Peter Sis book.
    http://georgeplaceblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/justice-or-mercy/

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