Thursday, March 27, 2014

Poem Inspirations

This morning, I woke up with a poem in my head, a poem with such strong images that I went straight to my purple legal pad to write it down:  no coffee, no trip to the bathroom, no I went straight to the paper and pen.

Last night, I went to bed thinking that I'd write another poem inspired by Luisa Igloria's Buddha series that she's posting on Dave Bonta's blog; I particularly love what she weaves together in this one of the Buddha in high heels.  Last night I read poems the latest books by Kelli Russell Agodon and Susan Rich.  Something inspired this line:  "In the end, so little is left behind."  My grandmother's button tin floated through my brain and then submerged itself.

I went to bed thinking that I'd record what I'd written in a card to my gravely ill friend:

"When we are little old ladies rocking on the porch, we'll shake our heads at your ordeal in 2014.  Then I'll shuffle off to bake a peach cobbler while C_____ cleans up from planting hydrangea bushes.  We'll mourn the great house I once had, the house swallowed by the sea.  But we'll be grateful, because there are fresh peaches and thrilling shades of blue and purple flowers."

I thought I might turn that into a poem.  Instead, I woke up with a different set of images:  a huge tin of buttons and a bracelet of bright hair about the bone (that last one from John Donne's poem, "The Relic," which you can read here).  I woke up with the image of a woman sewing a different button onto every garment in her closet.  My grandmother cut the buttons off of every garment, once she'd patched and mended the garment and done everything to save it; she kept those buttons in a big tin and bristled when her grandchildren wanted to play with them.

The poem I wrote this morning does have hydrangea bushes. It has dark, rich soil, instead of ash and bone.  My grandmother kept her kitchen scraps in a gallon milk jug (with the top sawed off into a wider opening); when the milk jug was full, she'd dig them into a narrow strip of soil by the detached garage in the back yard.  How I wish I had some of that soil now.

But I have sand, evidence of the once and future sea bed.

Yesterday, I wrote this post where I said  "If I could make a bargain whereby I never wrote another poem good or bad again but in return my loved ones would live to a healthy old age?  I would give up my own poems."

This morning, I awake with a mostly formed poem spilling out of my brain.  I'm trying not to read too much into that.

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