Hannah Stephenson has a great poem up at her blog today. It's called "If You Miss the Ocean," and it starts like this:
"Paint the ocean the way you remember it,
thick as stucco, as meringue.
Cut squares from every garment you wore
to the beach and make a quilt"
It inspired me in all sorts of ways. I thought about the reasons why I don't miss the ocean:
Think about the ancient men who allow
their bellies to lead them down the Boardwalk
But that poem was headed in an ugly direction. And I admired the way that she encapsulated longing in such a different way. It's not the yearning that I'm used to seeing in poems.
So, I wrote a version: "If You Miss the Mountains." I'm missing the mountains and I'm missing the shift of seasons. The autumnal equinox happens here, but the change here will be so subtle that most will miss it.
Here are some of my favorite bits that I wrote this morning:
"Make a quilt of scratchy woolen
socks and use old trail maps
as your wallpaper."
"Eat an apple and remember all that's lost
to you: pies and butter and cider
hard as a craggy path."
"Be more like the mountains,
rising from the horizon,
resolute through the ages,
worn away slowly
inch by inch."
I like Hannah's poem better. It's much more subtle. I haven't gotten to the point where my longing isn't bleeding through onto the page.
I also admire how she uses solid, concrete images and drenches them with symbolism. Masterful!
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