Late Developers

Those late developers stare with dull, black, accusing eyes,
pale leaves still strive for the sun’s weakening rays,
flowers that should track summer shiver into autumn days.

Might they warm themselves on their own golden gaze? 
Still closed in sulky pouts in early morning haze,
have they the strength to open in a blaze?

Time casts longer shadows, and wasps begin to craze,
to weave a black and yellow polka from grazed
fruit to the open petals of the sunflowers’ embrace.

Kim M. Russell, 15th September 2020  

My response to dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Poetics: Nine across for a count down

Laura’s Poetics prompt in this ninth month of the year, almost at the equinox, is somewhat melancholy and wistful. Laura has harvested some inspirational September poems from Karina Borowicz, Dorothy Lawrenson, Les Murray, W.S. Merwin and Seamus Heaney in a Poetics challenge that focuses on the number nine(echoes of The Beatles’ White Album) and we have the choice of two prompts.

We can write one or more nine-line verses, taking one of the given nine-word lines from poems by Borowicz, Lawrenson or Murray, with each consecutive word becoming the start of the next line of our poems. We must keep the word order and repeat the pattern for more verses. Laura says it’s a kind of acrostic whereby the horizontal descends to the vertical!

For those of us who like a syllabic challenge, we can write a nonet, a nine-line poem that begins with nine syllables, descending line by line to one syllable, using one of the given nine-syllable lines by Merwin or Heaney as our opener.

I chose the first option and the line ‘Those/ pale /flowers /might /still /have/ time/ to /fruit’ by Borowicz and stayed with nine-word lines.

38 thoughts on “Late Developers

    1. Thank you, Bjorn. My sunflowers are smell but they have finally bloomed – well, one has. The others are still struggling to open their petals. My daughter’s, on the other hand, were spectacular, but they were blown over when we had strong winds.


  1. Amazing that so many of us chose the same line; great minds and all that I guess. You went the extra mile and wove in a rhyme scheme; kudos for that. I liked “wasps began to craze, to weave a black and yellow polka.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Yes, like others a lovely rich piece – the wasps weaving polka – is a memorable image. I also liked how you used rhyme – the harsh ‘rays’ ‘days’, ‘gaze’ etc. softened in the last with the half rhyme – ’embrace’. Terrific.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The sunflowers here are waiting to be harvested and they look awful. They’re at their best when they’re like yours.
    I like the idea of a nine word line, boxes the whole thing in. And I like the idea of the sunflowers having to provide their own personal sunshine 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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