NaPoWriMo Day 12: Beth Hartley – Mothra

Picture: Ken Cumberlidge

Beth Hartley makes a welcome return to Poetry Non-Stop with a poetic form of her own devising – the mothra.

Beth says: I accidentally invented this form in NaPoWriMo in 2020. It’s a sibling to the syllable decreasing form “Abracadabra”.

In a Mothra, the first line has one word, the second line has two, the third three and so on up to eleven words/lines. The second stanza goes the other way, from eleven words to one. It results in a vaguely moth shaped poem, hence its name.

You can find this and other concrete and repeating forms on the Allographic Google Sheet
Repeating and Concrete Poetry Forms.

For inspiration – have a look on your social media for accounts that feature photography of your local area, or an account like Storm Hour, which has weather photography.
Otherwise: combine with any other prompt for the day that you like.

Here is my first one – which ended up being the titular poem for my collection “What if Stars” which was published by Allographic Press in 2021.

A long wave

if stars
were telling us
everything about the universe?
The vastness of space means
the message comes in tiny fragments
and we are not yet slow enough
to catch up on all the star views.
Because we haven’t listened long enough to find out,
and shards have slipped past through ages and into rockets,
their fuselages dented by the stories being told by our galaxy?

This is why we don’t know, we are only hearing fractions.
We see their speech like spatter on our windscreen, black
and full of specks we can’t interpret, unless we
learn to tune in slower and take time
to understand, decode, decipher, dream and find.
A fuller picture of everything existing.
Imagine what we might discover
if we caught all
the little scraps;
what if

Please share your responses to today’s prompt either in the comments or via email. The best submissions will be featured in future podcasts.

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