Here in Seattle, up on Capitol Hill, we’ve got a neat little place called the Hugo House, dedicated (as you’ve no doubt already guessed) to all things writing. Twice a year, they host an event called the Write-O-Rama, a sort of workshop buffet where you can sample (in 50-minute chunks) several of the classes they offer throughout the year.
Needless to say, that means each session is a little rushed, and the writing you do is often fast and frantic, needing plenty of revision later on. Every now and then, though, after some on-the-fly tweaks and adjustments, you end up with a piece that actually sort of works1In your own judgment, at least.. I had one of those this past December, in a workshop called “Ekphrasis Across Genres,” ekphrasis meaning (in this case) a literary description of a work of art. Here’s what I came up with:
I know not of what his skin was wrought,
Of a tree's trunk or sculpted wax,
But his shoulder was a cannon muzzle,
His chest all jewelry of dazzling gold and silver,
Engraved with likenesses of ram's head,
Fur, and blooming flowers;
An Arabian lamp by a candlestick upheld
Formed the jaw;
His nose and ears were steel or pewter,
And his forehead metal wire.
A glorious king he seemed,
By God or gods blessed--
But a candle, overlarge with many wicks,
Set alight a crown
Composed of naught but sticks.