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Sunday Scribblings #94: Backward Steps Can Give Runways to Soar

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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Notepad and a pen over it with a cup of coffee next to it. words read Sunday Scribblings, and this is for Sunday Scribblings #94: Backward Steps Can Give Runways to Soar

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):

Reverse Poems

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

  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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!)

Theater-Gator
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

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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

  1. 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?

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