I’ve started to write about something new. I haven’t a clue yet where it’s going so I don’t want to reveal the topic yet. I just want to let you and the world know. That’s a way to keep me accountable. I can’t go ahead and disband this new writing project because I’ve now put it out there. You all know and I know you’ll keep me going.
I’m also going through some poems I’ve written over the years. I’m looking for material to submit. I wrote the one below back in 2011 at my favorite poetry workshop at Esalen Institute in Big Sur California. Unfortunately my favorite three poets/instructors, Ellen Bass, Dorianne Laux, and Joseph Millar, aren’t doing this workshop anymore, though I went to a workshop at Esalen with Joseph about a year ago. That was wonderful as well.
So the theme for this poem was “changeability.” We were asked to make changes from line to line, using word series, thoughts, length of line, and language. Other aspects of this theme are:
- anaphora – repetition of the beginning
- let language talk back to you
- write about concrete stuff, taking out articles and extra words
- ask a question
- locate the poem somewhere
- no need to follow the story all the way through
- bring present world into the poem, no matter what it’s about
I have no idea whether this poem meets any of these aspects. I’ll let you be the judge. Please tell me what you think.
The gray and tan-striped cat just crossed my path
holding a gray mouse in its mouth
almost as big as its head
distracting me from the poem in my head.
I startled, looked around the corner
as it walked up the hill.
Now I am determined to
blank out that image
of that beautiful little cat,
and forget that it could
commit such violence
so foreign to this place and my day,
and think about
the mass of yellow alstroemeria
and pink roses almost as tall as I am,
the browning grass behind the solarium,
the wall of glass around me
that streams in
hot bright light to warm
my always chilly hands
and body and feet,
and how the white waves
seem to float and undulate
as they brush up against the rocks below.
They could lull me to sleep
as I write
like a cat on a full stomach.
But, then that cat,
that beautiful cat sails
back to mind and I’m lost
behind a smoke screen
So why not ask the question,
did that cat like the mouse meal
it had for lunch
or did the proof of its kill
go out with the trash?
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