Taking a step backward is not always a bad thing to do. It can help us actually, in so many different ways. Sometimes, those few steps backward help us get a running start, and help us fly even. Other times, it helps us look at things from a different angle, to restart fresh, and to appreciate life as it is. Even a single step back can give us a much needed breather, and help us take a smarter and stronger next step forward. So many folks, wiser than me, have quoted totally quotable quotes (couldn’t avoid this!), and I am sharing a few here with you:
From one of my favorite people to watch on TV,
“It’s hard to see things when you’re too close. Take a step back and look.” – Bob Ross
From someone I discovered only today via this quote (and on researching who he is, noticed he just decided to step away from his blog earlier this month after years of writing)
“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.” ― Robert Brault
“Sometimes, it’s okay to take a step back and admit you’re being ridiculous.” – unknown
“Take a step back, evaluate what is important, and enjoy life.” – Teri Garr
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Poetic Sundays: Backward Poem
I picked the backward poem for today’s form. It is not a form as much as it is content based. First, let me tell you why I picked this “form”; as it often happens here, it is because one of the various random celebrations this week. The 31st of January apparently is National Backward Day!
Second, I need to tell you that there are two kinds of backward poems (at least, the ones I discovered):
There are those that also go by the name reverse poems; these poems can be read forwards and backwards and still retain meaning. Again, there are two types within this (I picked a title closest to what might describe the poem):
Palindrome/Mirror Poems/Reversos: the ones that read the same both ways (forward and backward) and hence can also be called palindrome poems. However, changes in punctuation as we move towards the middle of the poem where the mirroring starts will (or should) lead to delightful results overall.
Reverse Poems With Reverse Moods: Poems that when read forward say one story and when read backward, say a completely different story (often the opposite). So, reading the poem forward might sound pessimistic while the reverse poem is optimistic.
Backward Poems (the other type, I mean!)
Then there are poems that simply say a backward story or describe something or someone in a backward sort of way; not in a negative sense but purely fun or nonsensical. These poems talk about things that are inside out, or upside down, or about things that are what they shouldn’t or can’t be. Some examples include Shel Silverstein’s Backward Bill, or the folkloric poem with many variants that goes by the title One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night.
You can listen to Shel Silverstein’s recital of Backward Bill in the video below
Poem Backward a is What (Again Once!)
A backward poem is a fun verse that typically consists of
- rhyming couplets to showcase the selected backward subject or object or theme
- using predetermined lists of backward things for the abovementioned
- where the lines can either simply describe or tell a story (as you wish)
- and lines have similar meter as much as possible to maintain a sing-songy rhythm
Steps to Write the Backward Poem
- Create a backward subject for your poem. It can be person, thing, or event, like Backward Bill in Silverstein’s poem. For example, your subject can be Rex the Gator (alligator, I mean) who loves the theater
- Come up with a list of backward things to help describe your subject, or things related to it to create a story. Thinking about our subject, the gator Rex; maybe he is timid, slow, eats apples, and fish are his best friends.
- Put them all together in rhyming couplets.
Thanks to Ken Nesbitt at Poetry4Kids
Additional Notes/Tips for Backward Poems
- Use other poetic devices to the best effect you can. For example, Shel Silverstein employs onomatopoeia, anaphora, epiphora, consonance, and juxtaposition in Backward Bill
- Check out oxymoron examples to inspire you.
- Look at lists of opposites related to your subject. Again, remember it is supposed to be a fun verse. So Rex could totally fly in the skies on a bike, swim on land, and walk on his tail, or other similar things.
References, Further Reading, and h/t:
My Backward Example (well, first attempt!)
Rex the Gator, he loves the theater
His dream is to be an art curator
He lives in muggy sandy Paradise Bog
& writes with his toes for an offline blog
He eats a tiny dinner every morn
That fills him from dusk to dawn
His deaf mom who lived a mile away
Heard today’s whispered hello yesterday
She flew on a black motorbike that’s off-white
in the middle of the day exactly at midnight
Rex my dear, she said when she swam down
Are you OK? For you’re wearing your frown upside down?
Replied soft spoken Rex to his blind (and deaf) mother
….(sorry, I ran out of words to string together)….
~Vidya Tiru @ladyinreadwrites
On My Blog & at Home
My recent posts since and including my last Sunday Scribblings:
- Sunday Scribblings #93: What is the Opposite of Wise Words?
- When Reading to Them Changes to Reading With Them: Magical
- Top Ten Books by New to me Authors I Need to Read (2021)
- Wordle Alternatives: 13+ Options You Will Love
- Wonderful Word Games: A Lewis Carroll and Wordle Connection
- Have You Seen a Breathing Kaleidoscope?
At home, there has been nothing new. Life goes on, and that is good!
On My Blog and Homefront
Posts, life, et al. Mini reviews of books overdue for a review.. booklists for upcoming events.. another fun bookish blog hop (starting on the 1st of the month at my blog)
This Week’s Celebrations
Literary Celebrations (close-to-it also!)
- Literary birthdays this week include: Laura Lippman and Norman Mailer on Jan 31st; Langston Hughes and Meg Cabot on Feb 1st; Ayn Rand, James Joyce and Khushwant Singh on the 2nd of Feb; Gertrude Stein and Ransom Riggs on Feb 3rd; Ravinder Singh and Russell Hoban on the 4th of Feb; Tom Eaton on Feb 5th; Kathryn Stockett and Bob Marley on the 6t
- World Read Aloud Day (February 2, 2022)
- 31st of January is National Hot Chocolate Day
- The 1st of February is National Baked Alaska Day and National Dark Chocolate Day
- February 2nd is National Tater Tot Day
- The 3rd of February is National Carrot Cake Day
- National Homemade Soup Day is on the 4th of Feb
- 5th of Feb is World Nutella Day
- While the 6th celebrates National Frozen Yogurt Day
- January 31st is National Backward Day, National Inspire Your Heart With Art Day, as well as National Bubble Wrap Day – Last Monday of January
- The 1st of February celebrates National Freedom Day (Freedom From Slavery) and Chinese New Year – Changes Annually (February 1, 2022)
- Feb 2nd is National Groundhog Day as well as National Girls and Women in Sports Day – Changes Annually (February 2, 2022). It is also World Play Your Ukulele Day and World Wetlands Day
- The 3rd of February is National Women Physicians Day
- February 4th is World Cancer Day, International Day of Human Fraternity, and National Thank a Mail Carrier Day
- National Weatherperson’s Day is on the 5th
- followed by International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation on the 6th of Feb
Wrapping up my Sunday Scribblings
So dear reader, you have reached the end of this Sunday Scribblings! As always, I welcome your thoughts, comments, and suggestions about this post. And do let me know if you plan to celebrate any of these mentioned celebrations this coming week/month?
Linking this to the Sunday Post over at the Caffeinated Reviewer and the Sunday Salon
5 thoughts on “Sunday Scribblings #94: Backward Steps Can Give Runways to Soar”
I love how clever reverse poems can be.
LOVE the quotes! Especially the Cha-Cha quote! I’m going to remember that one for sure!
I’m not super familiar with reverse poems, but I love the reverse poem with reverse mood concept – it sounds so interesting! Do you have a favorite of that variety?
It’s wonderful to remind ourselves that we can always take a step back and look things over before proceeding. Wise.
The reverse poem is admirable for its craftmanship. Thank you for sharing it with us!
This is such an interesting idea. I remember reading a lot of Shel Silverstein poetry as a kid. This is a fun style of poetry.