Lost streets, lost streets. Streets don't get lost though...do they? This month's challenge with the lovely Karen from Leaf & Petal is inspired by the following poetry prompt that was posted on Mslexia for National Poetry Writing Month:
Write a poem which answers this question: ‘Where do lost streets go?’ In your poem use at least five items from the following list: piano, mirror, armchair, ten pound note, labyrinth, last, shadow, pelican, song, cheeseburger, watching, hope, dark, shape, fog, invention, figure of eight, elastic-band, elbow room.
Thanks to Penelope Shuttle, regular Poetry School tutor
I loved trying to weave in the words in the list, and easily managed more than the suggested five. 'Cheeseburger' however was a bridge (street?) too far.
This challenge really got me thinking about real streets that have disappeared - through demolition or falling into the sea or a river, or just deserted now because of a natural (or unnatural) diaspora. Intriguing.
My first line was inspired by the Pet Shop Boys hit Where the streets have no name:
Where the streets have no name
they all but disappear,
fall off the map like elastic
bands down a drain.
The shape of a once-loved street,
its kerbs and currencies and the eddies of its nature
hang like a fog some distance from the ground
like displaced armchairs
rocking back and forth
untethered to bricks or cement
rotting in a labyrinth;
secret stitches in time.
But I'm watching as the street I used to know,
that street so familiar in sight and sound and smell
folds into itself
a figure-of-eight fantasy
concertinaed like a pack of cards,
just shadow in a mirror.
Then: the sound of a piano
carried on the breeze
fuzzy, distant, soon to be silenced.
I imagine a cosy scene
sash windows open to the eve
on that still-alive street
where houses and their driveways
still have elbow room to breathe.
I focus my attention
drift towards it,
that melancholy sound
rippling in the dusk-tinged air
and my heart filled simply
with the song of hope.
Read Karen's response to this poetry prompt.
Last month's challenge was a poem and collage inspired by the theme 'The Voyage'.