Writing Poetry Again

I’ve started writing poetry again.

It’s a struggle. I’m not sure why it’s such a struggle for me now. I think it’s partly because I’ve been writing so many other things, and somehow I’ve lost the rhythm. There was a time when I could sit down with a pad of paper and something would come out. Not necessarily something good, but the rhythm of it would be there. But writing a dissertation, and then writing a lot of prose, put you into a different frame of mind. You tend to lose the rhythm. Or perhaps it’s just me, perhaps I’ve lost that sense for it lately.

What I do know is that I haven’t written poetry for a long time. And now I’m trying to put together a poetry collection, and thinking about what works and why. And I want to write more poetry, and I’m trying to figure out how.

So there it is.

Earlier this week I started two poems, both of which I finished today. I’m going to include one of them below. I think that what I want to write now is not something finished, polished, perfect. But something broken, almost fragmentary that nevertheless has some power. I don’t know if that makes any sense. I have a sort of instinct for where I want to go, but it’s difficult to explain.

Anyway, here it is.

Autumn’s Song

You are not alone.

If they could, the oaks would bend down to take your hands,
bowing and saying, Lady, come dance with us.
The elder bushes would offer their berries to hang
from your ears or around your neck.
The wild clematis known as Traveler’s Joy
would give you its star-shaped blossoms for your crown.
And the maples would offer their leaves,
russet and amber and gold,
for your ball gown.

The wild geese flying south would call to you, Lady,
we will tell your sister, Summer, that you are well.
You would reply, Yes, bring her this news –
the world is old, old, yet we have friends.
The squirrels gathering nuts, the garnet hips
of the wild roses, the birches with their white bark.

You would dress yourself in mist and early frost
to tread the autumn dances – the dance of fire
and fallen leaves, the expectation of snow.
And when your sister Winter pays a visit,
You would give her tea in a ceramic cup,
bread and honey on a wooden plate.

You would nod, as women do, and tell each other,
The world is more magical than we know.

You are not alone.

Listen: the pines are whispering their love,
and the sky herself, gray and low, bends down
to kiss you on both cheeks. Daughter, she says,
I am always with you. Listen: my winds are singing
autumn’s song.

It’s Thanksgiving day, and I’ve been spending a lot of time reading and resting, for which I am grateful. And I ate my share and more of turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, cranberry relish, bread stuffing, peas, and gravy. I’m thankful for all that, but also for the fact that I’m writing – and going back to some things I haven’t done for a long time. I think I’m still in the recovery process from this long, long year. Trying to find myself again. And writing poetry is part of that process.

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3 Responses to Writing Poetry Again

  1. Margaret Fisher Squires says:

    I am glad you are writing poetry again. For two reasons.
    1) It seems like a good way to recover from what writing a dissertation can do to one’s “voice”.
    2) You are writing lovely poems like Autumn Song.

    Keep it up.

  2. Thanks, Margaret! 🙂

  3. Pat Bowne says:

    That’s a beautiful poem. I especially like the combination of resignation and revelry in it. Now I’m wondering what the poems for the other seasons will say!

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