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Poetry Friday : February 17, 2017.

With the flourish
of a pen, they
rewrite the
narrative,
leaving us
an empty echo,
an artifact
of memory,
more porcelain
than human,
forever
a plug in the
cylinder of truth —
those pseudo skeptics.

© 2017 Alice Nine

Question: Who are the pseudo skeptics?


Back story of the poem.
I’ve noticed postings about the 5th Annual February Daily Poem Project. In this writing challenge (#w10FoundWords), ten words are randomly selected from a news article. Using these ten words, participants write a poem.

I was intrigued, especially when I read some of the poems. So on Wednesday, I thought I’d give it a try. I applied to join the closed Facebook group; within minutes, I received my acceptance notice.

The post for the day referenced the Smithsonian article “When Some  1920s Garbage Was Mistaken for an Ancient Artifact.”  Thanks to Linda Baie who selected the article and the words:

artifact
rewrite
narrative
cylinder
porcelain
human
pseudo
skeptic
echo
plug
bonus – flourish


Writing about my writing.
I listed the words.
I sorted them — nouns and verbs.
I paired a few.
I pondered them.

I decided to pair pseudo with skeptic and then combine it with the verb rewrite. Loosely, I had my subject.

I decided to keep the lines short, giving it a bit of terseness. I also chose to use enjambed* lines to cause the reader to read some lines in a continuous flow, not stopping where a line breaks.

I tried the subject (pseudo skeptics) at the beginning of the poem, then at the end of the poem, testing the best place, the overall effect. I decided to place it at the end so the reader would be compelled to complete the poem to find the antecedent of “they” (second line). Doing so ties the end of the poem to the beginning. I also decided against using skeptics in the poem title, lest it spoil the ending.

When I finished the poem, I chose “Empty Echoes” as the title (from line 6). Why did I choose it? I like the sound of these two words; I like the alliteration. I like the juxtaposition these two words created. I liked how the phrase made me wonder. I liked the concealed meaning of the title, empty echo means there is really nothing, and that suited the whole poem.

About ten revisions later, I found the poem. Here it is with the ten words plus the bonus word highlighted in bold.

With the flourish
of a pen, they
rewrite the
narrative,
leaving us
an empty echo,
an artifact
of memory,
more porcelain
than human,
forever
a plug in the
cylinder of truth—
those pseudo skeptics.

© 2017 Alice Nine

*An enjambed line ends partway through a sentence or clause which continues in the next line. Notice the way line 2 (they) goes to 3 (rewrite), and 3 (the) goes to 4 (narrative). Do you notice any others?


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