Monday, February 11, 2013

Retooling a Poem

Sometimes the universe conspires in our favor if we allow it, note it and take advantage of it.  

There was supposed to be a small group of us from my writer's group meeting in my office today for a read and critique session.  When one of the four of us, a woman whose poetry I admire and whose incisive feedback I very much appreciate cancelled due to her child being sick, I had a sense of dread.  I had not yet met the other two who said they were coming, both young men, one of them only 19 and whose profile stated he was the member of 177 other MeetUp groups.  Right.  I bet he has 800 Facebook friends too.   

I was thinking maybe I could pretend I wasn't there, like when the Mormons or Jehovah Witnesses knock on my door.  

As I sat there, waiting, I was also feeling badly that I had not been giving any time to reading and writing lately. How can I say I am a writer if I do not, in fact, write?

As it turns out, The Year of the Snake started out quite well with neither of the gentlemen showing up, allowing me the quiet of my consulting room to work on my word-craft.  And I did.  

This new lunar year I aim to molt my tired meters and shed my over-reliance on rhyme, and get down to the essence.  I will read more and write more.  I will blog more often as practice.  

So this is the one I worked on.  Currently untitled, I originally called it "What My Hot Flashes Teach Me" and then "Morning Mirror",  neither of which I like.   And it isn't done yet, nor abandoned.

The previous version was posted here in December, as a Poem for Turning 55.

Domain without dominion,                                                

this body as I age.                                                           

I startle at my reflection,                                                

in recognition of                                                           

a “me-ness” that abides within that cage                       

no longer new.                                                           

A breath-stopping moment of

shock and silence; aware

that memories now stretch longer than

the days which lie ahead. 

Exhaling, holding my own gaze, I stare:

no longer young.    

My passions long neglected

require now a choice.

Ancient desire sparks nascent fire,

and inchoate, arise,

seek form, and clamor to be given voice,

no longer mute.

Sight will dim and sinew thin.

This hutch will rust and bend,

of little use or consequence.

I need but this breath to

sing the poem of pulse beyond body’s end:

no longer caged.

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