I wrote a poem today. I’ve never written poetry. It just showed up in my head when I was out with the dogs this morning. Of course the material was there. I didn’t just make it up. Last week in my writing workshop I struggled with a memory that I was trying to write about. Its one of those unpleasant memories that comes back periodically and leaves a bad taste in my mouth along with disturbing images in my mind. So I decided it was time to work through it. It didn’t really work. I kept dipping in and out of the memory asking questions about what was going on, trying to force my way into parts of it that wouldn’t open. The results were frustrating and the memory refused to crack. Talking to our teacher, she suggested I write it in the present tense and make up the parts I couldn’t remember, but I wasn’t ready to go back to it. Not yet. A few days later I wrote about another childhood memory, only this time, I wasn’t trying to get into it, it wasn’t as locked down as the first one. This one bled. It led me forward and backward in time, and sideways into other seemingly unrelated ideas. I ended up with about five pages. The writing was frenzied in pace, and one sentence flowed into the next. Disjointed images collided in the same sentence, and spilled over into the next. By the time I finished, I was so angry my hands were shaking. When I finished dumping the anger, I threw myself on my bed in tears. Days later, a poem, fifteen short lines, distilled out of five pages, appeared in my head in an orderly fashion. It was a little alarming, and I can’t say there were no emotions that came with it, but it was clearly a poem that required me to hurry home so as not to lose it. I took it to my workshop with me this morning, hoping to show it to my teacher. I love poetry, but had no way to approach my own poem critically. An essay is easy. A story, no problem. But a poem? So I took it to Karin. She read it afterward, after we had chased other images attached to other memories for a couple of hours. More emotions. By the time everyone left and we got to my poem, I was already a little tired and shaky. Arriving home, I was ravenous, drained, and still shakier. Going back over the poem, talking about it, where it came from and all of that left me needing a change of scenery and a good dose of fresh air.
Knowing that shooting for a couple of hours would calm me and stop my mind from working over the mornings writing, I packed up my camera, lenses and tripod and retraced my steps from Sunday. I shot the above image as part of an assignment to spend a chunk of time shooting only at the normal focal length of 50mm. The sun was dropping and I was headed back toward my car when the crew team rowed by. Between the trees, the water, the sunshine and my camera, the morning’s intensity slipped away and was replaced by calm and beauty.
As a new convert to writing poetry, I found the following tonight after publishing this post: http://abowlofrandomwords.wordpress.com/ . Its a blog where she gives you a bowl with words in it, which you then “pull out” and write a poem with. You can post your poem in the comments section of the blog if you like. Cool idea.