Chapter 3 is called “Stir the Bees: Sound.” Runyan begins the chapter with another line from Billy Collins’ “introduction to poetry”:
or press an ear against its hive
Think about that word, “hive.” I can’t read it it without hearing the buzzing of bees.
This chapter is about sound, about choosing words with sound in mind. That can be rhyme, sure. Runyan also shows a lot of other ways to involve the sense of sound by deconstructing the nursery rhyme “Baa baa black sheep.”
She also encourages us to use word lists to choose the word that evokes sound or that simply sounds good when read aloud. So in my next draft of my poem, I did consult ye olde thesaurus. A couple of those words made it to the final draft.
Roadside Oddity (#3)
There’s nothing odd
about a wee white cross
beside a Texas highway.
“Careful there could be snakes,”
she says, but there’s no water
just a cross
entwined grapevines rising
from prairie grass
just past mile marker 95.
The earth curves away from the crash
tire tracks lead nowhere. Yellow tape
insists, DO NOT CROSS
We cross pasture bleached by drought
stare at ivory sky
Zephyr wind lifts our skirts
Note: This chapter opens with a poem I loved the first time I saw it at Every Day Poems—“Tiny Blast” by Peter Gizzi. It includes the wonderful line, “Turtle into it / with your little force.”