riend and contributor Brendan Constantine challenged his fans with an exercise. Two poets each compose five lines—the first poet a set of five questions, the second a set of five answers—and combine them randomly. The magic results from neither party seeing the other’s lines in advance.
Editors Shannon Morley, Stephen Parrish, and Wendy Russ took part in the exercise; the results are below. We find it remarkable that distinct and contrasting styles meld together so well.
Try it yourself.
Why does the long sigh of a cello draw lines from my heart to wrap around the earth and back to you?
Why does tomorrow feel like a temptress in a silk caftan?
Why are rosy-cheeked optimists so annoying?
Why does the sound of a door shutting fill me with sorrow?
Why do I feel power when you tremble?
Why is blue blue, and red is red, but green is that time we drove through the honeysuckle eve, Pink Floyd in the wind, fresh love in our eyes?
Why have Forest Tent caterpillars carried Persian rugs upon their backs even long before a forgotten Sufi poet wrote: Here in this carpet lives an ever-lovely spring?
Why does my heart break through to my knees when I happen upon bygone lovers holding hands on a walk by a still October lake?
Why do the best memories include pancakes, peanut butter and diner coffee, and a three-hour nap beside you?
Why do my grandmother’s velvety five-petaled violets carry the purple sorrow of generations?
Why do we think owls are wise?
Why is it so hard to get back up?
Why doesn’t everyone smile back?
Why did the boys with the cars get the girls?
Why do we always want more than we have?