Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Draft Process: Inside, the Ice Assembles

60º ~ the rain continued into the early hours of this morning ~ as far as I understand it, this is going to be one of those days where the temperature falls throughout the day ~ lows tonight in the mid 30s ~ the wind continues to stir the trees

No, the calendar has not leaped ahead to Friday, constant Reader.  I am simply off schedule as noted at the end of last week.  This morning as I woke up, my sickly speaker came to the forefront of my mind and stayed there.  After I read the blogs, I glanced down and saw the copy of Mary Oliver's American Primitive, still open on the desk from yesterday's post.  I read another of my favorite poems from the book, "Ghosts," which is about the near extinction of the American bison during the 19th century and the cost of that excessive hunt.

I was not planning on writing a poem today, I confess.  I put the book down and wondered how different a poem I might write if I gathered words from Oliver instead of Lucie Brock-Broido.  They are as different as night and day in diction.  Then, without even thinking about it, I heard my sickly speaker's voice.  She said, "They say the seasons are turning."  And Poof!  I grabbed my journal and the poem began itself.  It did not pour out of me whole, but I got a great start.  I should also say that between blogs and Facebook, I've taken note that friends in more northern climes are commenting now about snow more regularly.  That matters to the poem.  It begins:

The nurses say the seasons are turning.
I see little but one squat square of sky.

On days when the fever lets loose of me,
I notice now the gathering clouds, the way

their weight is shifting toward snow.

Frost appears in the poem, too.  (click for link)

It goes on in couplets, as most of the poems in this series go, for 22 lines.  I had been wondering about the speaker making progress in her battle against this undiagnosable illness, but that wasn't to be today.  She has more to say about being sick. 

I've also been chaffing a bit at the fact that the speaker is contained within this hospital (asylum?) and thus there's not a lot of the natural world in the poems.  In some ways, today's draft speaks to that as well.  The speaker identifies with and yearns for the natural world but cannot reach it due to her illness.

For the title, I did return to Brock-Broido, to her book, Trouble in Mind.  I found the phrase "Inside, the ice assembles" in the poem "After Raphael," and it works perfectly for this poem about the coming of winter and the state of the speaker's body & mind. 

As for Friday, well who knows now what will happen.  I may return to my "schedule," or I may not.  It's that nearing-the-end-of-the-semester, oh-my-the-HOLIDAYS-are-here time of year so anything goes.


Kathleen said...

Isn't it nice when the voice in your head is writing poems....?!

Sandy Longhorn said...

Oh, so nice!