My buddy Laura Shovan sent me charming origami pups containing dog haiku for the Summer Poem Swap. (It should come as no surprise that Laura has hidden talents like the ability to fold adorable pets. Never underestimate a knitter.)
Inside the origami were (Rudy first, Sam second):
old Beagle sits
wet nose quivering
wipe your paws
when you come in, dog
Laura really nails canine-ness, doesn't she? So this next part is kind of a rabbit trail which circles back around to Laura's swap. I heard about rhapsodomancy recently, which is a scrumptious word for divining the future with poetry.
Rhapsodomancy is an ancient form of divination performed by choosing through some method a specific passage or poem from which to ascertain information.
There were various methods for practicing rhapsodomancy. Sometimes, individuals would write several verses or sentences from a poet on multiple pieces of wood, paper, or similar material, shake them together in an urn, and pick one at random. Sometimes, they cast dice on a table that was covered with verses; the one on which the die landed was said to contain the prediction.
In ancient Rome, the method of sortes involved opening a book and choosing some verse at first sight.
Even though I don't actually believe in telling the future and am not 100% sure I would want to find out even if I did (believe in it), I decided to play with the concept.
Laura gave me an arts magazine along with the poems she sent me, and I decided to open it and point to something and see what I got. What would my little experiment in rhapsodomancy uncover? Well, at first, I got a photograph titled "Tranquility." Okay, sounds good, but that's more photodomancy than rhapso, so I kept going. Got a colored pencil drawing the second go-round ("Portrait B") but the third time I got a stanza!
From "I AM" by T. R. White:
I am encased in a siding of armor
Impenetrable by design
Those who seek to tear me down
Can't contend with my front line
Prophecy? Words to live by? What do you think?
The Miss Rumphius Effect has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Tricia!