Last month Margaret Simon over at Reflections on the Teche dreamed up the idea of inviting people to participate in a photo exchange she called “More than Meets the Eye.” The idea was that we would send a photograph from our area to an exchange partner then each of us would write a poem about the other’s photograph. I was paired with Catherine Flynn (who blogs at Reading to the Core); she sent me beautiful pictures from in and around Bridgewater, CT.
I get nervous about writing poetry – even though I’ve watched my blogging friends write a poem a day for all of April and I’ve popped in to the Poetry Friday round ups to read and occasionally share – and when I’m nervous about writing… I research! The first thing I stumbled upon was Trip Advisor where a found poem leaped (haha) out at me. So… just for laughs…
Lovers Leap Gorge
Trip Advisor Found Poem
This is a simple roadside pull-off with a nice view.
Great photo op.
No facilities exist.
Daylight use only.
Overnight parking prohibited.
But the stories, legends and history of the area deserve more than a tongue-in-cheek found poem. I was entranced by the sounds of the names, the newspaper articles from when they flooded the valley (covering over the Barnum house – yes, related to the circus) to create Lake Lillinonah (named for the young Pootatuk woman who, according to legend, leaped off the gorge with her lover). I learned that Still River runs into the lake and so much more. I wish I could have worked it all in.
And then… well, I tried free verse and a mask poem. I tried a little of this and a little of that and I couldn’t quite get what I was looking for. I wanted the circus (the sound of the calliope) to weave into the legend into the idea of man-made creation (because I’m assuming the legend is at least partly created and I know the lake is). It was the idea of weaving things together that led me to write my first-ever pantoum. It’s got my own twist – I used a refrain – and I tweaked the lines a little, but close enough.
Catherine, Margaret, here’s a Bridgewater/Lovers Leap Gorge/Lillinonah pantoum. Thanks for the inspiration!
“I feel sure bits and pieces of the old valley will come bubbling up to the surface of the lake for years.” Mrs. Sewell Montgomery in the Connecticut News Times
Bits and pieces of the old valley
Bubble to the surface.
A lingering lilt of calliope
Ripples through the water.
Bubbles to the surface.
A lover, she leaps and her echoes
Ripple through the waters
of the man-made lake.
Did your lover leap? Do his echoes
Glide like a canoe over
The man-made lake
Where Still waters cover legends?
Glide in your canoe over
The lingering lilt of calliope
Where Still waters cover the legends and
Bits and pieces of the old valley.