Friday, August 23, 2013

My Very First Published Work

I wrote my first poem in the new house yesterday!  Is it my best work?  Probably not.  Is it ready for a public appearance?  Not yet.  But it makes me happy to return to poetry.  I wrote one poem in July, and several in June.  I've had other summers where I wrote nothing and was able to return to good habits, so I wasn't too worried.  Still, it's a relief to feel some poetry juices flowing again.

Instead of sharing yesterday's poem, let me share a much older poem.  I've been going through my files, and I'm astonished at how much I've written through the years.  When I castigate myself for not writing enough, let me remember the boxes of material. 

I've kept some of it, but most of it exists in computer files, which are stored in duplicate in several locations--and so, I threw away a lot of hard copies.

I also came across old literary magazines from undergraduate school.  And so, I'm glad to share with you my first publication as an adult.  I'm typing it in as it appeared then, even though I suspect the repetition of "and blankets" is a mistake.

I was amused to see that I was beginning every line with a capital letter, just like I'd been trained to do in high school.

People familiar with my work will note a familiar theme.  Does it work in terms of other poetry qualities?  Not much figurative language here.  A bit too obvious for modern tastes, I'm guessing.  Too prosey--an accusation I hear about my work occasionally.  Not much musicality here.  A bit too blunt in terms of message.

But I'm fond of it.  I remember the girl who wrote that poem.  She was fierce.  I need to start channeling her more often.

So, here's the poem, which first appeared in the 1984 edition of The Kinnickinick. 


Sure, I could build
A bomb shelter.
I could dig deep into the earth,
And line the hole with lead.
I could stock it with food
And lots of bottled water and blankets
And blankets
As protection against the "nuclear winter."
And of course,
Firearms with which to protect my haven.

But when the Bomb struck
I would be at the grocery store.

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