Friday, May 29, 2009

Naming them

I've been trying to find my way back to a part of myself I misplaced when over-committing myself became a way of life five or six years ago. It's taken a year and a half of cooking off the effects, of saying no, of resting in the space I finally created for myself to get this far. Without rambling on, the damages are physically apparent, but I'm working on that and am beginning to believe actual healing is on the (somewhat distant) horizon. So, suffering from the rebound effects of optimism, I've decided to add another item to my wish list.

If I had to choose between writing poetry and storytelling, I'd choose storytelling every time, but of the items I put aside--when prioritizing activities became a way of surviving the mess I'd made--I missed poetry the most. I'm not much of a poet compared to most of the company I keep, but the void was notable. Poetry requires the use of a part of my brain that otherwise spends far too much time sitting in the darkness of its mother's basement playing video games and wondering why nobody ever comes over.

So one of the things I've committed to doing this summer (along with the ever present "find an agent" litany) is to write two decent poems. The following is not one of these, but, as the saying goes, "You gotta break a lot of eggs . . ." so I'm considering this a starting point. This time around I decided to focus on a topic from my own back yard. Literally.

Naming them

I bind green stalks to stakes
with last Sunday's nylons.
I know I shouldn't talk to them;
they don't know me from the wind.
To them I am rain, sun, dusk.
Not even God (because if they thought--
and they don't--I was him
they'd likely tell the truth,
not promise perfect fruit
and produce shriveled pods instead).

But words bloom in concert
with verdurous spring crops.
I'm addled with it, really.
Mottled leaves mean murmurs, burbles when I harvest,
apologies for weeds. I am remiss, remiss,
a bad housekeeper, a terrible host.

I've moved my deck chairs and table
to grass at the south end,
so I can be near them, watch them
follow the day from east to west,
sip my sun tea and read poetry;
not out loud (But if I did--
and I don't--they'd probably like Piercy*).

Naming them all might have been a mistake.

*Attack of the Squash People by Marge Piercy


Ray Veen said...

That's pretty cool, Mary. You are devoted to that garden, aren't you.

So did you post this intentionally on a Friday? Cuz there's this blog-game-thing called "Poetry Friday" that I just started to get involved in. There's a link on BigplainV

jeanie said...

"Poetry requires the use of a part of my brain that otherwise spends far too much time sitting in the darkness of its mother's basement playing video games and wondering why nobody ever comes over."

That is the start of another awesome poem, Mary.

Mary O. Paddock said...

Actually it was an accident, Ray. Thanks for the link. I've been working on this one for about four days--first a bunch of notes, then a free write, and finally the poem. An edit or two later this was the results. And I am devoted to my garden. I'm hoping to write something a little more far reaching next time (like maybe the neighbor's garden :) )

Jeanie--Thanks. My husband liked that line too.

Anonymous said...

What a thought provoking post, Mary. I love your work so much. You have such talent.

Scotty said...

I'm with Jeanie - there's the makings of a very introspective piece right there.

I like the other one too although I keep coming up with one question; if you're curious as to what it is, Mary, email me and I'll put my crit-lite hat on for ya, lol.


Mary O. Paddock said...

Thanks RH. That's quite the compliment.

Scotty! I was hoping you'd see this piece and if you have the time, I'd really appreciate your thoughts on it. I'm way out of practice.