First Snow was this morning. I don’t know if I should celebrate it proper, though, since none of it stuck to the city and it was over pretty quickly. But considering how often I’ve been griping about things lately, and feeling as though I could really use some kind of break, it was at least a momentary bit of happiness (cold, wet happiness) on a grey morning. And then I beasted through this prompt, which, upon completion, will mark 40% of the way through the month. Still trucking along!
1. “A builder and a doubter.” (Tom Sleigh, “The Parallel Cathedral”)
2. “I moved my chair into sun.” (Jane Hirshfield, “I sat in the sun”)
3. “When I get to the bottom, I’ll swallow myself whole.” (me, “Indulgences”)
5. Describe what you actively do (not what you feel or think) when something you’ve been waiting for turns out to be not as amazing as you expected.
BONUS. Keep the first and second person out of the poem, at least outwardly. Or go further, and keep all humans off the surface entirely.
ALTERNATE (5). Describe what you actively do for luck, superstition, or just compulsion, in order to have something turn out the way you expect.
I keep thinking about this honeysuckle plant I was dealing with over the weekend. When it’s not in bloom or leafy, it’s basically just this mass of red-brown wire twined around everything else in the garden, living and unliving alike. I was trying to cut back specific non-honeysuckle plants, so I ended up unwrapping its curls from around other twigs and trying to bolster it with the fencepost. Probably it will be trimmed later; maybe then I’ll write a poem about what editing’s like. Still, I thought of the symmetry between the miniscule variations of growth that make it take its shape, and the similar careful choices of a poem.
Also, I thought a bit about Sharon Olds. One poet I know describes her poems as being careful in their awkwardness, which lends them a unique feel and effect. Just a little experiment in that direction, here.
(ars poetica: honeysuckle)
Writing a poem is delicate as plant-work, like
honeysuckle curled around a fence. Every piece
seems like a new pluck of words and
carefully pierced phrases, the sugar stars
white in June, the root tenacious, the harsh
tea-color vine clung to the chain-link in November.
This is how poetries are. One of them
concerned with chasing the sun armors itself
with leaves. It does not let on to the one
whose nectar is slim and ready underneath. Nor
the parasitic bit-by-bit that spirals up and down
other twigs clambering for attention, quiet and
subtle and close to the ground. By now, this
naked material catches frost easy and curls
inward for warmth. It burrows at last again
into the dirt, heavy with itself, seeing another
way it might have started and might have gone.