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NaPoWriMo

Here’s today’s prompt:

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates a call and response. Calls-and-responses are used in many sermons and hymns (and also in sea shanties!), in which the preacher or singer asks a question or makes an exclamation, and the audience responds with a specific, pre-determined response. (Think: Can I get an amen?, to which the response is AMEN!.). You might think of the response as a sort of refrain or chorus that comes up repeatedly, while the call can vary slightly each time it is used. Here’s a sea shanty example:

Haul on the bowline, our bully ship’s a rolling,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

Haul on the bowline, Kitty is my darlin’,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

Haul on the bowline, Kitty lives in Liverpool,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

The call can be longer than the response, or vice versa. But think of your poem as an interactive exchange between one main speaker and an audience.

Here’s my response to the call of today’s prompt.  It’s a long way from yesterday’s poem at Callinish, and it’s a bit more colourful.

Earthsong – Call and Response

Rhythm of earthsong
tread dusty ground
blood pulses in veins
and the sun beats down!

     You dazzle in colour
      leap to the sky
      to the beat of the drum
      you hold then fly!

We sing the songs
from Africa’s core
our voices in harmony
upwards soar.

      You dazzle in colour
      leap to the sky
      to the beat of the drum
      you sing then fly!

We dazzle in colour
leap to blue sky
to the beat of the drum
we sing and fly.

     You dazzle in colour
      leap to the sky
      beat your own drum
      but together fly!

Over the years I’ve enjoyed learning some ‘call and response’ songs from countries in Africa in community choirs, and that is what came to mind for this prompt.  I’ve also had a go at African drumming once, and enjoyed the ‘call and response’ that goes on there too.  Drumming and singing in this way enable us to start as individuals but finish up in harmony.  I wanted this poem to have a strong drum beat rhythm.

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