Poem of the Week: “After the Reading”

It’s National Poetry Month once again, and while I’ve greatly enjoyed sharing certain facets of the craft as well as the work of others on this blog in the past, this year I decided to do something a little different and showcase a few of my own works, plus a bit about how they came to be.

Poetry is something of a mystery, I think, and to dissect it too much would strip it of some of that beautiful quality, but as I thought about what verses to share, memories came with them that interested me not so much for themselves alone, but for how they coalesced into a whole. This week’s poem evolved from years of scattered images, generated by the post-poetry reading energy captured in another writer’s long ago verse, a summer night in a novel I loved as a child and a real-life spring afternoon on the Suwannee River, and one listener’s admiring take on the baritone of a well-known wordsmith, two words of which description I shamelessly cribbed, but I don’t think either writer would mind.

And that’s the prosaic side of creation, for words don’t really spring from the ether like fairy dust, though to some it may seem that way. What I love are those surprises experienced by writers of every stripe, such as the unexpected pattern that crept in with such gentle stealth to help meld the whole.

In the end, what mattered most was that I had at last not just captured an idea, but done so to my own satisfaction . . . because that (for most writers, I suspect!) is something of a rarity.

I hope that you enjoy it as well.

* * *

AFTER THE READING

I would whisper
if you were here
this
that was born

in the echo of
your muscular voice as you stood,
poet at your pulpit,

casting word nets to your hearers.

Later, on a bank of quiet dark
where we’d bared our feet
in a tea-colored stream,

It rippled like a fish in the moon-water.
I would have cupped it in my hands,
a gift to you.

My bed will not hold me. I sit,
forgetting sleep,

whispering this poem to
you who are absent, your crooked stride
breaking the grass
on the way to your own
templed verse.

Stream

* * *

From The Soundness of Broken Pieces, © 2012 by Lucie M. Winborne. Available from Middle Island Press.

 

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