I used to tie myself in knots with finding the perfect word or phrase for a poem, working and reworking ideas and sounds until things began to sound like something manufactured in a plastics factory. Then, in November, when I decided I needed to loosen up or let my Poet die a quiet death, I found myself spewing random verbiage all over the place. This was a good thing: my Poet survived.
Lately, the pendulum has begun to swing back again. I don’t plan to let myself get knotted into that editorial straitjacket, but I do want to add a little more deliberation to my poetry again. Here is a revision I worked up on my July first poem. It’s not significantly different; the biggest change is in the line breaks. I wanted to create more intention to the rhythm of the lines, with a sudden shift in the final stanza. I think it works. I’d be glad of any feedback you have about the differences between the poems.
These are the Days
These are the days when I become
a quiet rock, a quivering leaf,
an ear of lichen listening to the stones grow.
The words have wandered off on tiptoe,
eloquence eludes me, and all my sentences
begin with the word So.
So the wind will sing in my sun-rimed feathers
but my own story waits like a seed in the earth,
like a dream that must rise through mud, a bubble,
the nymph of a damselfly crawling through centuries
up the stalk of a smooth green reed
to be born to the clear blue light.
There is a roaring in my ears
like the sound of a newborn grief or rage.
But it’s only the lazy hum of summer,
of fireflies clicking their aching rhythms
into the velvet indigo of solstice,
communing with the waxing moon.
Another day I’ll dawn,
but for now I will sink
slowly into the pond
with Grandmother Moon
and leave my message with the fish.
3. Sweaters and scarves in August
May we walk in beauty.