Today’s prompt is to write an echo poem. This is a gift. I have been frustrated this month with the way I have struggled to settle back into my voice. I know that writing a poem a day means that many will be junk, but I can’t seem to find the threads of myself in my writing this month. Two days ago, I felt it again, that sense that I was in the poem, finally. And yesterday, I desperately wanted to hold it, but it just unraveled.
But today, the prompt is to write an echo poem. He suggested that an echo might be a re-vision of an earlier poem, or perhaps a response to an earlier poem. I am trying to work out both of those–to echo Monday’s poem and to revise yesterday’s. I think I have almost accomplished it. It’s going to need some more revision work, but it’s definitely finding its way.
Love, she leads me out in the street,
leaving History muttering to herself
in the corner booth of the cafe.
“How can we fix her?” I ask, but Love
is silent. She points her finger down the street,
where sun is streaming golden through the leaves
falling from a yellow maple. “Don’t you just–”
she asks, “love that?” And Yes fills me,
and a shining thread stretches golden
from us to the tree. “And that?” She points
to children racing higgledy-piggledy down the sidewalk.
Laughter echoes off the walls. I nod and see
the glimmering thread between us.
A tired-eyed mother carrying her child. Yes.
Pigeons fighting for a crust of bread.
Pigeons, yes. Bread, yes.
A self-assured pup pulling his woman on a leash.
Dog. Woman. Her violet eyes. The shifting shades
of red and russet in her woven stole. Yes, and yes,
and yes again. And yes to the man sleeping on the grate,
and the girl who has brought him a cup of steaming coffee.
A glittering web fills the square, shifting in the sunlight,
quivering in the breathing spaces between us all.
“Ah!” I sigh. I see it now. “This is how
we untangle History
from her self-repeating cycle!
Cast the web and revel in its shine!”
But Love is not yet smiling.
“There!” She points to a battered crow,
holes in the fringes of its wings,
winging home from warring with an owl.
“Even that,” I say. “It is the way of crows,
of owls. I love the crow.” The web is cast
between us. Voices rise as we pass
through shadows, marching feet in lock-step.
Love points–“And those?”
Like the crows, perhaps, it is the way
of sheep to follow wolves. And yet,
the web has faltered slightly,
gone grey and wispy, sagging,
but intact. I hear History whispering,
“Inevitability, Sister.” Still, my heart
can see around the edges, hold the strands.
I have done this work before.
But Love points again, this time
to the leader himself, the leering
lying demagogue, leading the sheep
to their doom, to ours. A babbling buffoon–
The web is falling, tangling around me.
“And this one?” Love looks on, solemn-eyed:
“I think you see that here is where your work begins.”
1. Tabula rasa. Sometimes you get a do-over on a clean sheet.
2. Binge-watching The West Wing.
3. The goldfinches twittering in the sunlight.
5. Sleeping in. My body let me sleep until 6, and then I managed to doze until after 7. Glorious. I might take a nap, too.
May we walk in Beauty!