On the other side of now, or: Tapestry poetry

Partners in rhyme

Sangeetha (Mindfills blog) and I have been writing poetry together for two years. We’ve done several series of poetry together, including:

As well as (most recently):


Tapestry poetry

Recently, I discovered a form of collaborative poetry designed by a pair of poets, one from India (Shernaz Wadia) and the other from Israel (Avril Meallem)… Just like Sangeetha and me!

‘Tapestry Poetry’, which they developed, works like this:

Each poet composes a poem on a title chosen by one of them. The poems are then exchanged and have to be woven into one seamless, flowing piece that can stand on its own. Being a collaborative effort, the editing becomes a to and fro process until both writers are satisfied with the resulting ‘Tapestry’. The basic rules are:

  • Each individual poem has to be of 9 lines;
  • Only the person who gives the title has the option of actually using it in the poem. This is to avoid repetition;
  • The majority of words of the original poems should be kept but grammatical changes allowed. (e.g. singular to plural, verb tenses, etc.);
  • Adjectives and adverbs can be replaced with others more befitting the Tapestry but retaining the original flavor;
  • All 9 lines of each poem are to be used in the Tapestry, which effectively makes it an 18 line poem.

Our individual tapestry poems

Of course, Sangeetha and I decided to give this new poetry form a shot; and she came up with a title for our poem: ‘On the other side of now’

‘On the other side of now’ by Sangeetha

Memories made of moonlights past
glowing beyond quiet constellations
turn up as dewdrops on newborn days
for me to walk barefoot on;
I savour the tentative touch of Time
drawing me in and drawing me out
to imagine the infinity on either side
willing me to make a choice
on the colours for tomorrow's dream.

‘On the other side of now’ by David

Might not lives fold in half at now,
Our futures flush against our pasts;
Forwards and backwards lie as one
On necessary paths of self;
Pulled taut around the present's sheave,
Experiences rolling through?
Might not each I glide by the rest?
True insight may require that we
Know all our selves as one in time.

Our joint tapestry poems

‘On the other side of now’ #1 by Sangeetha & David

Our first tapestry poem was by the book:

I savour the tentative touch of Time
to imagine the infinity on either side;
might not lives fold in half at now?

Pulled taut around the present's sheave,
might not each I glide by the rest
on the colours for tomorrow's dream?

Our futures flush against our pasts,
glowing beyond quiet constellations,
for me to walk barefoot on.

Memories made of moonlights past
forwards and backwards lie as one,
drawing me in and drawing me out.

Experiences rolling through,
willing me to make a choice
on necessary paths of self.

True insight may require that we
turn up as dewdrops on newborn days,
know all our selves as one in time. 

‘On the other side of now’ #2 by Sangeetha & David

Our second tapestry poem was woven word-by-word, rather than line-by-line, which produced a very different result:

Imagine all our selves in tomorrow's dream
Made of newborn futures beyond our colours and constellations;
The tentative touch of Time may glide through the present's sheave;

Might lives not know one true insight?
Might each dewdrop not require that we savour infinity?
On necessary paths,
The self rests quietly;

On either side of days, 
Glowing moonlight and rolling memories fold as one,
Drawing me in to walk barefoot onโ€ฆ
Drawing me out to make a willing choice;

As for me, 
Time turns, 
Pulling forwards, backwards, 
Up against experiences,
Taut around pastsโ€ฆ
 
As for me, 
I lie half on the past, half on the now.

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

22 thoughts on “On the other side of now, or: Tapestry poetry”

  1. What a wonderful form. Though I think I like the second tapestry more as a whole, this stanza of the first tapestry I found particularly lovely:

    โ€œTrue insight may require that we
    turn up as dewdrops on newborn days,
    know all our selves as one in time.โ€

    Such a great weaving of words and concepts!!
    I Loved the originatorsโ€™ examples as well โ€” I checked out their site โ€“just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing.

  2. All 4 poems were beautiful. The 4th one I think was my favorite. It is such an alien concept to me, I find poetry so vulnerable, and to share it so beautifully is amazing.

    1. ๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป Nicole ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ–ค ~ you are so sweet; but I’d say that your poetry is about as vulnerable as it gets!

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