Entering our Poems
This week I've been struggling with sight. Or the lack thereof. It seems the drier Denver air and a fan going 24/7 has created dry eyes. I'd heard of it, but never experienced it, so I went to my doctor, the ER, and finally an ophthalmologist before finding the cause of my blurred vision.
Despite the blurriness, I took a long walk around Sloan's Lake in hopes of shaking out some of my frustration. Sitting at a picnic table were ten nuns dressed from head to toe in white. The juxtaposition of formality and leisure captivated me; the word, beautiful, came to mind. Unfortunately I'd left my camera with its telephoto lens at home, and missed the opportunity to save the image. The above photo is not mine, but gives you an idea of what I saw.
And this brings me to what we take in as poets, how we enter our own poems. I could have been taken in by the seagulls on the lake, or the lone cormorant hoarding his pier post, or the guy jogging shirtless with three dogs on leashes, but it was this vision of women clustered around a table, that thrilled me.
How do you enter your poems? Through vision or sound or taste? Or feeling? I do not usually begin a poem with an image. Feelings are my way into poetry. Of course I thrash around looking for something that works as metaphor for the feeling, but usually the image is secondary. I may be an exception.
I'm hyper-aware of visual stimuli now. And it's brought me to a new awareness of how precious sight is. And how fragile these bodies are. Ultimately this foray into my visual neverland has humbled me. And it makes me want to write more, see more, take in more. Maybe even feel more.
Right now a crow is squawking out my window. I am tempted to enter a poem through her. I think in a previous life I was a crow. I just get them. All of that annoying chatter, picking up things that don't belong to them, an obsession with nests. It just fits. I digress.
So yes, we enter our poems as we live (or lived), and for me, even through the blurriness has brought vision to the forefront of my perception, I'm going to keep feeling my way into my poems, and occasionally I'll enter one through a bird clamoring outside my window . . .
There Is Always a Bird, It is Always a Crow
In my house of dreams,
perpetual flight, not the brazen
lift of predator, more scavenger
looking down over humans.
It has always been like this,
measured thought before
action, when someone offers
themselves, the crow inside
builds a nest of wire and
sticks, feathers stolen from
other birds, makes a home
from everything discarded.
My writing often deals with the environment, my poetry filled with allusions to natural and man-made disasters. I have unlimited hope though; there is just too much wonder in this world to become a defeatist. To quote Margaret J. Wheatley, '"Hopelessness has surprised me with patience."