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Today, I challenge you to fill out, in no more than five minutes, the following “Almanac Questionnaire,” which solicits concrete details about a specific place (real or imagined). Then write a poem incorporating or based on one or more of your answers.  You can see the Almanac Questionnaire in full here http://www.napowrimo.net/day-sixteen-3/

Here’s my response:

The law at sixty three

When I was thirteen I climbed The Law:
once a volcano they said, now extinct.
I wore a red cotton anorak, brown shoes.
Today I am older, the weather grey,
the rocks slippery in the light rain,
the mountain gear waterproof.
Grey turrets rise from the town below
skirted by squat Scottish bungalows;
yellow gorse trims golf course greens
and in the Firth boats fish for crabs,
dip and soar on white-topped waves.
Once my childhood dream was to
travel to far countries. Now my hair
has started to grow again and the
white summit trig point shouts
its black graffiti; live for the moment.
In the afternoon the sun shines.

How I did it:

I used my responses to the following on the ‘almanac questionnaire’:

Weather: grey
Flora: yellow gorse
Architecture: Scottish – turrets and bungalows
Customs: fishing and afternoon tea
Mammals/reptiles/fish: crabs
Childhood dream: travel to far countries
Graffiti: live in the moment
Dress: mountain gear
Scrap from a letter: my hair has started to grow again

The poem that came out is based upon something I did very recently – I had my first holiday after cancer treatment and climbed North Berwick Law fifty years after my first ascent! The ‘scrap from a letter’ was in an email from a fellow cancer-patient and the graffiti words on the trig point were just right!

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