O – Onomatopoeia (NaPoWriMo #18) Never Again

Years ago, I packed in over several nights, with a backpacking group near Truckee, CA, north of Donner Pass. We were at approximately 7,000 feet elevation in the Sierra Mountains between Sacramento, CA and Reno, NV. It was a very exciting trip.

A year afterward, I planned to repeat as a day-hike in with a friend. After he backed out, I decided to go it alone. I ended up going later than I should, and was unprepared for what I encountered. For my foolishness, I paid the price with months of back damage and pain. I can almost laugh about it now – almost. It was also exciting, but in a very different way.

Onomatopoeia is the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named, such as cuckoo or sizzle. It is also used for rhetorical effect, as in this poem.


Never Again
by Bill Reynolds

High Sierra beauty.
No food. No drink. No sense!
What plan? Quick in, then back out.
Whoosh. Like the wind. Time passed

Boink. Suddenly, it’s late.
Dusk. ARGH! Gotta get out.
Before dark. Oh no: It’s feckin’ dark!
No moon, no map. Had a lighter. Zip.

Oh, shit. Muddled.
Not one essential, much less ten.
No flashlight! Groan. Why?
Thinking? Stoopid. Grrrr to self.
Clatter climb rocks. Get out. Fast. It’s Dark.

Thump. Crunch. I fell, no moon. Ark!
Did I say, “It’s dark?”
Crunch. Footsteps. Are they mine?
Can’t see. Bonk. Oof! Pain.
F-word, again. No better.
I keep swearing, like it’s gunna help.
Bam. Step in hole. Crunch. Knocked out breath.

Shocked. Confused. Must see but cannot.
Crackle, smack. Branch to my face. Blood. Ooze.
Buzz. Bugs? Crunch. Twisted ankle.
Scrape, bang, boom, bash. ACK! More pain.

Bonk. Fall on face. Dark. Hurt. Walk.
Pain. Bam. Oof! Again. What’d I step in?
Another hole. Whack, crunch.
Damn holes. Hiss. Oh god. A snake?

Hear something? More crackle.
What’s that? A clatter?
Get out. Fast. Don’t run. Too dark.
Bear? Mountain Lion?
Kill me? Eat me? Yikes. I’m so screwed.

Hoot. Owl. Danger.
Skunk. Whew. It stinks.
Careful. Out fast. Whiz? Crap!

I’m Cold. And wet. In pain.
Must pee. Yikes. Unzip.
Done. Relief. Don’t fall in it. Re-zip.
Ouch more. Get out. Don’t fall.
Boink. Thud. Head pain.

Scrunch, twist, whack.
Repeat. Fear. Repeat. Dumb me.
How far? How long? Lost?
Alone. Clatter. Alone?
What was I Thinking?

Break free. Find car! Keys?
Oh no. No keys. Groan. Swear.
Hidden key. Found it.
Brrrrr. Shaking. I am very cold.

Tall grass. Kerplunk. Dropped key.
Damnit, can’t see. Cold. Pain.
Sore knees, search the ground.
Feel in dirt, no gloves. I found it. Clatter to feet.
Hold tight. Screech. I scratched car, then swear.

Bang. Slam door. Varoom.
Start engine. Get out. Cuckoo.
Oof over bumps. Drive. Find my brain.
Good trip. Nice day. Never again!

Bring a flashlight.
You can’t look either way, nor mind the gaps, if you can’t see.

Tuesday’s A-to-Z Update

I have not posted in over a week, since my A-Z Reveal. I want to post a brief update because my reveal plan is morphing, if only slightly. Things are not going as planned.

I hoped to include words provided by others in the poems. In writing my first few little ditties, I now realize that writing any poem is a sufficient challenge, especially for a rookie. Adding complex, unfamiliar words to a poem may detract from any bits of quality in the piece. However, I have discovered a different approach.

My son, Steven, suggested onomatopoeia. It is an interesting, six-syllable word that means the name of a thing or action from a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it, such as buzz or hiss. Onomatopoeia in poetry refers to a word that phonetically mimics or resembles the sound of the thing it describes. Shell Silverstein’s work provides excellent examples. Like this one.

Joey Joey took a stone
And knocked
And Whoosh! It swizzled
Down so hard.
And bloomp! It bounced
In his backyard.
And glunk! It landed
On his toe!
And the world was dark,
And the corn wouldn’t grow!
And the wind wouldn’t blow!
And the *bleep* wouldn’t crow!
And it always was Night,

All because
Of a stone
And Joe. ~ Shel Silverstein

I decided that I would use poetic forms, or literary devices, or types of poems, or methods of writing as the subjects. In other cases, it may be the title or the topic of the poem.

Where I can, I’ll still make use of the words for the letter of the day within the poem or poems. But if it wonks up the piece, the word goes the way of defenestration (yes, that’s one).

My first poem, Abilene, will publish in my blog on Saturday, April 1st (no fooling). Saturday also marks my completion of two years in (laughable) retirement. I have learned that being retired truly means that I am no long paid for my work – not less work It does not mean idleness, luxury, or boredom. However, I do get to call my own shots, pretty much (wife, children, grand kids, friends, and many others get their share).

Look both ways and mind those damn gaps.