Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ "a bundle of contradictions" (from Anne Frank's last letter)

I am very conscious of the fact that our feelings and strivings are often contradictory and obscure and that they cannot be expressed in easy and simple formulas.
Albert Einstein

In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost. Only in love are unity and duality not at variance. Love must be one and two at the same time.                                                                                                                              ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Anne Frank dated her last diary entry 1 August 1944. Here it is, edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler, and translated by Susan Massotty.  

This is an excerpt:
"Dearest Kitty, 
". . . Can you please tell me exactly what "a bundle of contradictions" is? What does "contradiction" mean? Like so many words, it can be interpreted in two ways: a contradiction imposed from without and one imposed from within. The former means not accepting other people's opinions, always knowing best, having the last word; in short, all those unpleasant traits for which I'm known. The latter, for which I'm not known, is my own secret. As I've told you many times, I'm split in two. One side contains my exuberant cheerfulness, my flippancy, my joy in life and, above all, my ability to appreciate the lighter side of things. By that I mean not finding anything wrong with flirtations, a kiss, an embrace, an off-color joke. This side of me is usually lying in wait to ambush the other one, which is much purer, deeper and finer. . . ." 


Midweek Motif ~ 
"a bundle of contradictions" 

(see here a very loud silence)

Your Challenge:  Make one new poem with the motif "a bundle of contradictions."  Alternatively, make a new poem with a motif inspired by Anne Frank.

Even now, after twice her lifetime of grief
and anger in the very place, whoever comes
to climb these narrow stairs, discovers how
the bookcase slides aside, then walks through
shadow into sunlit room, can never help
but break her secrecy again. Just listening
is a kind of guilt: the Westerkirk repeats
itself outside, as if all time worked round
towards her fear, and made each stroke
die down on guarded streets. Imagine it—
four years of whispering, and loneliness
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE.)
            BY WALT WHITMAN


The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.

Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.

Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?

Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?

Drawing Hands by M.C. Escher (1948)

Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—

(Next week Sumana’s Midweek Motif will be ~ of poems.)


  1. Hello everyone. Susan, this week prompt was one of the hardest things that I had to write about. I was crying, as I read Anne Frank's last journal entry. For this entry moved me, on several personal levels that I struggled to write this.

    1. My poem was hard, too, though the kernel of what is personal in it might be in hiding. Each hard challenge opens us more.

  2. Intriguing prompt Susan. Will be back with some words.
    Happy Wednesday every one

    much love...

  3. A fantastic, timely and a challenging prompt, Susan. How I LOVE this: Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

    1. Yes! Thank you. That quote is on a mural here in Philadelphia. I have been wanting to use Walt's poem for a while.

  4. Late again! White rabbit. But what a dream--and what a day! I'm looking forward to a wide range of inspired poetry.

  5. Help me out here. Are these the best poems a prompt has ever spawned?

  6. Couldn't quite totally approach Anne Frank - feeling a little too fragile. Powerful thoughtful prompt.

  7. Hi kids, am at the farm, and i head home tomorrow. How I love Anne Frank.

  8. I almost decided to pass on this prompt, but then decided to go with it in a lighthearted direction.

  9. I must admit I fell head over heels in love with this prompt!💞 Sharing my poem "Epistle To My Future Self".. hope you like it Susan. Happy Midweek everyone ☕

  10. Happy Wednesday, everyone! I'm afraid I only had time for a haiku today. I've been busy preparing for my baby grandson's first visit to our house, so I've been doing lots of cleaning. I can't believe he's nearly five months old!

  11. A poem to cheer up!
    Thanks for the great prompt.

  12. Hello, dear poets. Is it cheating to use a poem not directly inspired by the prompt , but only just written and happening to express 'a bundle of contradictions'? I trust it's acceptable.

    1. PS Off to a real-life writers' group now; will read everyone a little later.

    2. Of course. It's a tiny cheat, but it sounds like the prompt gave you a new awareness of the power of this poem. Love it!


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