Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

found poem- chapter titles from MOBY by Diana Gabaldon December 12, 2013

Diana Gabaldon just posted the Chapter 82  to 94 titles for her next book in the Outlander series, entitled Written in My Own Heart’s Blood (aka MOH-B, aka MOBY)  Those chapter titles were mixed to create this ‘found poem.’  Words in bold are Diana’s titles.  Regular print and punctuation are mine.  The fun with found poetry, is that one often senses something profound hovering just below understanding.  Can you find a message here?


Keeping Score:

    One Day Cock of the Walk—Next Day, A Feather Duster


I Will Not Have Thee Be Alone

on the    

Long Road Home




            Moonrise or

                The Sense of the Meeting

                    In Which Rosy-Fingered Dawn Shows Up Mob-Handed.

A Whiff of Roquefort


The House on Chestnut Street

reveals that

It’s a Wise Child Who Knows His Father

Oh yes, for

Even People Who Want to Go to Heaven Don’t Want to Die to Get There.


poem- MOBY dreams (chapter titles found poem) November 18, 2013

Diana Gabaldon just released the next set of chapter titles (68-81) for her next novel, “My Own Heart’s Blood.”  They looked like they were asking to be a poem, so now they are.  I have taken the liberty of re-ordering them for my own purposes.  She assures readers there are no spoilers, but I make no such promises. (ha!)  I usually use phrases exactly as found, but in this case, the bold words are the titles, and anything not bolded is added for sense or transition (or my own entertainment).


The Cider Orchard
High Noon

A Single Louse

In the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

ponders the

Peculiar Behavior of a Tent, full of

Morasses and Imbroglios,

a Folie à Trois,

The Dangers of Surrendering to passion are,

The Sort of Thing That Will Make a Man Sweat and Tremble,

(and a louse, too) when it must

Go Out in Darkness.


The Price of Burnt Sienna:

is a Sparrow-Fart
Among the Tombstones

Pater Noster

Holy louse,

wrong place, wrong time, indeed.


title as theme September 28, 2011

When my high school English students are struggling to figure out the theme of a novel they are exploring, I always suggest that they take a good look at the title.  Most of the time, the title distils the essential element of the story.  This is certainly the case in each book of the Grace Awakening series.

Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks this way.  According to Poynter, in 1962 songwriter Johnny Mercer was asked whether lyrics or music begin the songwriting process for him.  He replied,

First — the title. That encompasses the grand idea, the crux of the obsession, the thought; it all goes into that … that’s what hits first, that’s what’s way back in your mind brought together in sharp focus; the title hits like a bullet, and if it’s right, then you have it, all of it, ready to go, in a succinct package — all the crazy, unconscious groping has merged into something real. … A title sends me. Is it the title that comes first? Or is it all of the inside of you that has produced the title, and suddenly you recognize it, and you think there it is — and from there you go. When a title occurs — I have begun.

I have to say that when I began Grace Awakening, I had the feelings conveyed in youthful poetry and some nostalgia.  I started writing about the feeling and imagining a scenario that went with it, but it wasn’t long before Grace introduced herself, and once she had, the title arrived soon after.  The feeling scene that started the book was edited out rather early on, as Grace herself pulled the story in a different way than I originally intended, but from the first week, Grace awakened to herself, and her dreams held the key.



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