|Irises on the Hendrix Campus, the antithesis of this week's poem|
Given the craziness of the past week, tornadoes, chalking the walk, the ever-present grading, some drama in the hallway at work, I wasn't sure what today's time at the desk would produce. I did my Thursday night reminder to self about Friday drafting with only half-hearted energy. As I went through my morning routine today, I tried and tried to think of poetry and was constantly distracted. Monkey mind, I think, the Buddhists call this when they try to meditate.
So, I cleared the desk/decks and took down my journal and my folder of poems in progress. I glanced at the poems from the last few weeks, a new saint and two tales. I enjoyed returning to the saints last week and thought I might go back there again. Then, I opened my journal and found this note from last Friday. "Make the barn poem a haunting tale." This will make sense if you stopped by last Friday. If not, read this.
Just glancing at that scribbled note was enough to set me off and running. I'm beginning to doubt anyone will want to read a whole book of these tales, but who knows, they seem to be what wants to be written. I did alter the first line slightly. Instead of "Once there was a girl...," this new draft begins, "Once, a girl was born in the shadow / of a well-kept barn." The draft is titled "Haunting Tale of Girls and Weathered Barns" so you can probably see that there's a twist in the poem that takes our girl from this well-kept barn to one that's falling down a bit.
Another one of my worries is that these poems do not turn into prose hacked into lines. I'm desperately focused on the poetic elements as I draft. Here you might see why I've clung to lyric poems for so long and why I've shied away from narrative. I'll try to focus even more on craft as I revise the poems along the way.
It seems without setting out to do so, I've begun writing a series. Perhaps the form of tales has provided me a way to channel what I want to say about growing up in the Midwest and allows me the freedom of moving past confessional autobiography. This is all fascinating to me, but I don't want to think about it too much, lest the poems evaporate.
PS: nothing is evaporating here in real life in the house of the Kangaroo. There is so much humidity in the air that we are coated in fog this morning and it seeps into the house. When I printed my drafts, the ink was slightly blurry. As I looked closer and held the paper near my face, I realized that the paper itself was just a touch damp, soft really. When I lived in the Midwest, I thought I knew humidity; NOPE, the South wins on that!