The Title of This Poem is Up to You


Sam and Karin, hosting for dVerse Poets’ Pub invite us to present a riddle in poetic form. I searched my “Trash or Edit” file for a poem that needs a title that will give a clue to the subject matter. I invite you to submit a suggestion. And since this poem is closer to the trash spectrum than the edit, if you have an idea how to make it work, I welcome your input. I’m not sure this is what our hosts are looking for, but it’s what I’m bringing! I’ll let you know the working title I’d given it and the final title and edit in a future post.

Photo: Susan Stevenson

Photo: Susan Stevenson

Why do wild roses
splayed along the river
go unseen, then die?

How do swallows know
when to return? And salmon,
the place of their gestation?

What causes flashes
of crimson and Parrish blue
to flare behind closed eyes?

Is there pleasure without pain?
And when we try so hard,
how come we fail?

News Item: This weekend, September 7th and 8th, my poetry collection on Kindle, JACARANDA RAIN. COLLECTED POEMS, 2012, is available for free. If you are able to download it and would be able to review it on Amazon or Goodreads, I would be so grateful. Thank you. For those of you who do not have Kindle, I’m hoping to get a print edition on Create Space.

Cover Photo: David Slotto Cover Art: Victoria Slotto

Cover Photo: David Slotto
Cover Art: Victoria Slotto

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38 thoughts on “The Title of This Poem is Up to You

  1. As I read this poem, I thought of Buddha’s challenge for us to see the world with a child’s mind–to be curious. I also thought of nature’s wisdom that we, as humans, may not quite understand, but the mystery is perhaps part of the joy.I don’t know if any of that could be fashioned into a title… Glimpses into a Curious Mind?

    Two lines in the poem didn’t work for me and I offered my lame suggestions to get you thinking about something different:

    How do swallows know
    when to return? And salmon,
    WHAT LURES THEM HOME TO DIE?

    Is there pleasure without pain?
    And when we try so hard,
    WHY DOES FAILURE TRY HARDER?

    Like

  2. rmp says:

    our definition of trash differs greatly. I’m not sure there are any answers to the questions posed….or if the answers are as important as the questions.

    I like you choice of keeping the title as is.

    Like

  3. Aha! Yes, I did get the aha! moment when I read your poem, because that inviting “find me a title” title seduced me, as well as the wonderful format of phrasing as questions.

    All that, and the breadth of the subjects you dealt with, make me certain I have the perfect title for this poem… so may I suggest: “The Force That Through the Green Fuse Drives the Flower”.

    (It’s a reference to a poem by Dylan Thomas, if you’re scratching your head… and I think your theme overlaps so well, and yet your approaches are so different)

    Like

  4. MARVELOUS inquiries and self introspection ~ I’d title it, ‘Quixotic Qualms’.

    Like

  5. ManicDdaily says:

    Ah just beautiful, Victoria – your choice of questions terrific and poignant and particular and vivid, ranging from the minute to huge. I was not actually hosting this prompt – but tomorrow Poetics! At any rate, thanks for the lovely poem and hope you participate tomorrow. I haven’t written either the prompt or poem yet as I have been doing a lot of job work, but hope to get it done before the witching hour. k.

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  6. My original title was “Doubt.” As I mentioned previously, I’m not sure why. I know I’d done previous edits on it, so maybe I got rid of something that made it seem more appropriate. I think all of you who ventured a title were spot on, so I’ve decided to go with the title as it appears here (as Mark suggests) and allow the readers to take it however they see it. Thanks for the comments, everyone. This was quite a fun prompt.

    Like

  7. Margaret says:

    Perhaps beauty isn’t the end result after all, (in reply to the first stanza) and perhaps the failing is the lesson we needed (in reply to the last) and the middle two suggest we will never know all the answers – no matter how smart we think we are (or try to be).

    This poem questions, does challenge, does present an overwhelming enigma that I believe our human condition will never truly comprehend. In my opinion, this beautiful reflection does deserve a different title, something reflecting this concept.

    Like

  8. Nice poem, love those questions, think about experience, which let us know what is pain or pleasure, which helps to live wild roses unseen, For swallow and salmon – instincts? Flashes, when with closed eyes? – experience, again….am I close? 🙂

    Like

  9. Akila says:

    The first thing that struck me was life cycle. An evocative piece!

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  10. Good questions. Not trash. My title would be “Unanswerable” but there are some great suggestions in the comments!

    Like

  11. hisfirefly says:

    feels like Spring

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  12. kkkkaty1 says:

    Agree with Mark….you gave it body and soul..he adds connection to make it really about the wonder of nature that hits the mark.

    Like

  13. Certainly save this from the trash bin! I love the questionning nature, like a child does, but throught the eyes of someone who has lived life and STILL has questions. Lovely ~ Jason

    Like

  14. Truedessa says:

    I enjoyed the thought provoking questions. I always like to ponder the wonder of nature.

    Like

  15. Myrna says:

    I think a possible title could be “Wonder”. That’s what you’re poem makes me conclude, that we live in wonder and maybe just need to let some questions be.

    Like

  16. Thanks to everyone for suggestions. I will rework it. I like Mark’s suggestion to leave the title as is. I’ll wait another day to tell you where I was coming from, but can’t say I know exactly what I was thinking.

    Like

  17. kaykuala says:

    There are lots of truths in the answers and truth mystifies. I would venture out with ‘Truth Mystifies’ as a title! Nicely Victoria!

    Hank

    Like

  18. Grace says:

    Life and nature have their own beat and language ~ Good questions here Victoria ~

    Like

  19. I like visiting here because you’re so inventive. I thought the title of your post was the title of the poem – and thought it was a great title.

    Since you asked – and only because you asked – I think it would be cool to change all the questions to declaratives: “It’s why wild roses…die”, “It’s how swallows know…” – and keep the current title as “The Title of This Poem is Up to You”. The reader is then pulled in, implicated; it is suggested that the reader has the answers, and they may, but it’s really a powerful enticement to inquiry.

    Like

  20. vbholmes says:

    Definitely not trash material–Judging from other’s suggestions, I would guess this lends itself to a one-word title. How about the obvious: “Questions”?

    Like

  21. I was wondering is it blindness in all its forms… as we do miss so much, seeing without looking… it’s certainly thought provoking poem.

    Like

  22. hypercryptical says:

    Your words asks questions of which answers are elusive – there is much mystery to life.
    I do not think your words are nearer to trash than edit – they echo questions I ask myself and the second stanza speaks of the wonder of nature and its mysteries.
    I do not see ‘failure’ in your words, but that of the inquisitiveness of us humans.
    ‘Why?’ perhaps as a title?
    Anna :o]

    Like

  23. brian miller says:

    such is life, you know….there is so much unseen or unknown…maybe something that plays off the unpredictability of life…so many questions…or to play off the above, failing forward….

    Like

  24. howanxious says:

    Some interesting questions… thought-provoking.
    I will offer a very simple title- Nature
    Wondering about the natural nature’s happenings in the first two stanzas and the human’s nature in the latter two. 🙂

    Like

  25. shanyns says:

    Ah seasons! Seen and unseen. Well done!

    Like

  26. Glenn Buttkus says:

    I dub this clever riddle poem, these titillating stanzas, WHY, HOW, WHAT & WHEN; nice work; my fave stanza is #3, as the nerve flashes under closed lids reflect chakra rainbows and spiritual whirly-gigs.

    Like

  27. Victoria.. I think I see autumn in your poetry, it fits quite well with all the stanzas, and then then last line could be “how come we fall?” to create a little extra twist..

    Like

  28. claudia says:

    the roses – and so many other beautiful flowers – never looked at by someone and yet they abundantly share their beauty.. i love this…love how nature is so lavishly wasteful… and rgd. pleasure without pain… i’m not quite sure… probably not me thinks…

    Like

  29. annotating60 says:

    Viuctoria, I loved the imagery and construction of your poem, particularly the twist at the end. It reverberates throughout the piece.

    My suggestion would be to chang the last line to “Whyu do we fail?” I think it scans better. I would also say my suggestion for a title would be ‘Failing,’ as Ithink that opens the reader to seeing the natural success of nature and instinct, the regenerative process and continuance in a light that makes them stand out broader and gives the ending the twinge of the idea that when we fail we should try again. >KB

    Like

  30. I see I didn’t quite get the prompt (after reading Brian’s post)–fun Idea. I hope some readers will “guess” the title, though.

    Like

    • Ruth says:

      a lovely poem regardless, Victoria, with questions i’m sure we all ask at some time… i do think that not all ‘riddles’ require (perhaps even invite) response, that being able and content to remain in the mystery (of nature, for instance) has its own reward

      Like

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