Thursday, June 7, 2012

Draft Process: Health, an Expanded Definition

72 deg ~ glorious morning, squirrels busy at their burying, the St. Francis of Assisi statue calm among the ivy and the shadow, a mockingbird and a cardinal dueling somewhere close

Today's draft returns to the dictionary definition inspirations I mentioned here and here.  (For those following the sickly computer, there is hope for its recovery, but I'm using a substitute laptop until we know for sure, so I'm returning to the ability to link in my posts...wahoo!)

But back to the draft notes.  I do like the idea of these definition poems with the more distant point of view as interludes to break up the sickly speaker's narrative.  I wonder about her voice becoming a whine, about her constant obsession with her illness becoming a burden on the reader.  These are the same worries I know we experience when we work through long-term illnesses and unburden ourselves by talking, talking, talking with family and friends, so I'm not too worried.  Still, I'd like to offer the reader a break every now and then, a little bench off the path where he/she can catch a breath.

Today, thinking toward the end of the series, I flipped to "health" in my Shorter Oxford and the lines began almost immediately.  There's a slightly different form to this one, though.  The two previous dictionary drafts are threaded through with phrases from the entries.  Today, I've used the four main definitions as the starting place for four sections of the poem.  Right now it isn't broken into stanzas, but the elaborations on the four main definitions are indented.  So, given that "health" has a fairly short entry, I was able to elaborate and make something of it.  Wahoo!  The draft begins:

Sound condition of the body in able to lift the wet laundry
...........and pin it to the horizon line;

For each of the four parts of the definition, I've added six lines expanding the definition to fit the sickly speaker's reality but without using the first-person.  Ahem...she tried to butt into the draft at the beginning.  In fact, in my journal where I draft by hand the beginnings of all my poems, I spy that pesky "I" several times.  As I drafted on the computer, I had to throw her out b/c I really do want these definition poems to be separate from her poems.

If you've been doing the math, you know that the poem comes in at 28 lines.  I'm debating whether to separate into four stanzas, but I like the way the form mimics the form in the dictionary right room for extra white space there.  As for the title, I went round and round with this one.  In this case, I can't steal from someone else b/c I want the title to point to the dictionary.  After much tweaking, I came up with "Health, an Expanded Definition."

The desk of the Kangaroo with today's poem & post in progress.
 And now, I plan to read my book for today while sitting on the back deck and enjoying the last of this cup of coffee.


Kathleen said...

I like to think you sickly computer is just in deep, deep empathy with your sickly speaker. And will be fine.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Thanks, Kathleen. Definite empathy as we just got a conflicting diagnosis. So confusing. Sigh.