Friday, August 12, 2011

Draft Process: Alchemy & Mortality

70º ~ oh sweet relief of thunderstorms rolling over us for the past three days, bringing much needed rain and heat relief, that pesky high pressure system that had us trapped has lumbered to the west where it belongs

It's been a busy school week, friends and fans of the Kangaroo.  Full-time faculty reported back on Monday, and I've had meetings and prep work filling my schedule until today.  I also forgot that it takes a few days for the body to adjust as well.  I found myself drifting off at 2:00 or so, another indication that I really need to keep a schedule in the summer to keep me fighting fit.

This morning, I went back to what's been working well, reading The Master Letters by Lucie Brock-Broido and letting words fall on the page of my journal willy-nilly, some drawn from the book, some from the ether.  I read and word gather until I come to a line that feels like a title, something strong enough to hint at a poem.

Today, that line was "the alchemy of my merely / Mortal form" from "His Apprentice."  I did adapt it slightly this time to "The Alchemy of My Mortal Form" as the 'merely' seemed unnecessary in a title.  The first line uses the first word I noted in my journal this morning, "quickens."

At my wrist, the mottled skin quickens
at your touch, doctor.  Do not trust the pulse.

Symbols of Alchemy from Science Photo Library

It seems I'm stuck on the idea of a speaker consumed with fever, as it happens again in today's draft.  That fever weaves into my general knowledge of alchemy and the use of fire as transformation.  I'm also still working in couplets, although the couplets today are more traditional, with more fully end-stopped lines at the end of the couplets.

I promise you all that I am healthy.  I suspect that all the feline medical terminology & tests of the summer are bubbling up in the poems these days.

More gratitude to Lucie Brock-Broido, as her work, like Emily Dickinson's, is full of leaps and arcs.  After writing such strictly narrative poems this summer for the fairy tale series, it's been thrilling to return to the lyric form where I am most at home.


Kathleen said...

I'm hearing "Fever" in the background now, as sung by Peggy Lee.

Sandy Longhorn said...

Classic choice, Kathleen!