Finding treasure in the slow hours

Posted by Dale Wilsey Jr. | Posted in , , , , , , , , , , | Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Work days have been slow. Excruciatingly so. I've found myself reading random snippets of news. Searching unknown poets. Researching odd topics. Today, I found myself reading children's stories from an old book on Google books.

I've never got into "creating" found poetry. To me, found poetry just seems to be the art of extreme editing rather than writing. Chopping away every ounce of fat from the words of previous writers to boil down the story into a pure, concise form. For this, though, it seems useful. One thing I've always had trouble with, and I'm sure most writers do, is knowing when to cut the fat from your work. Our words are our children and butchering them is never easy.

Below are a few "found" poems from the day's boredom.

Wolf and Lamb

Wolf lapping
running brook,
stray Lamb

seize her,
he bethought
how he
might justify

said he.
“you muddle

water runs
from you
to me

“you called me
ill names”

a year ago,
I was not

“that is all
the same;
it's no use
to argue”

he fell upon
helpless Lamb
tore her
to pieces

Two Packs

every man
two packs

one in front,
one behind
full of faults

front holds
people's faults

his own

men do not see
their own

but very clearly
the faults
of others
Lion in Love

Lion in love
with Woodman's
wanted to marry

begged him
to give
the maid

Woodman could
not think
of such a thing

Lion roar furiously,
and father, in great fright,
bethought a way

I cannot give
my daughter
unless you first
have your teeth
& nails drawn

in love,
he consented

when it was
all over, asked again
for the girl

Woodman, no
longer any fear,
drove him off
with jeers


Each of these were extracted from stories in an 1881 printing of The Children's Book: A Collection of the Best and Most Famous Stories and Poems. I found it here on Google books. I'm not sure how often I'd venture into the "found" poetry practice, but it helped to pass some time and make me consider editing and word choice.

I'd suggest trying it if you're a writer. You may find it helpful or, at the very least, entertaining. Share some found poetry in the comments section if you'd like. See what you can come up with.


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