There is usually some kind of story behind the writing of each poem. The writing of each piece is a new experience each time, at least that has been my experience. Inspiration comes from such diverse sources, sometimes directly connected to ones daily existence, other times as a startled shock seemingly out of nowhere. And pretty much anywhere in between those two different points. Because I came to poetry late in my life, it is always a constant thankful surprise when it comes at all.
The pieces I offer here, will be the result of those varied sources of inspiration. Some, as the ones that have already been offered here, will come directly from my rather prolific files (I may have come late, but I’ve certainly made up for the early lack of anything poetic in my younger days of existence). Some will be fresh and new, as is the piece I will post this morning. And each one has a bit of a story behind it.
Most stand alone and don’t need any explanation to be understood. Others might need some of that element and I will supply it as I see fit. However, if you are curious about anything you find here, please feel free to use the comments sections to ask whatever you like. And of course, other types of comments are welcome, as well.
When I initially started this blog, I couldn’t make up my mind whether to stick with pieces that were new, therefore fresh, or to use some of my older pieces that might not have ever seen daylight, as well as others that are simply particular favorites of mine. Then decided that I might as well throw the doors open to any and all possibilities. Why confine myself, or the poetry for that matter? So, on occasion, you might even find someone else’s poetry here, other than my own.
That means I will offer some of my favorite poets and their words, some of which had a great deal of influence on my own writing, but also others that I have met since discovering the incredible community that resides under the umbrella of versed life and meanings. Authors both old and new, well-known, or completely obscure. Variety is good and always offers further expansion.
Now back to today’s poem and its story. Two days ago, I wanted to write a poem that would act as the title piece for this blog. There were some vague whispers of just such a thing at the back of my mind, but they were extremely shy about coming forth and allowing themselves to be heard. That can be frustrating, but I have learned patience over the course of time. It doesn’t do much good to rush things, they will come together when they are ready to do so. That’s a reality of life, not just of writing poetry.
But two days ago, even though I may have decided to create a title piece, the thing wasn’t coming together, so I opted for another piece that has long been a favorite of mine and actually details some of the very things I used to teach. It did have a public hearing at a reception and reading and also got a rather nice write-up in a local newspaper, but it was never officially published. I was satisfied and willing to wait on that title piece if it ever decided to come forward.
Then I realized it was Monday and Mondays I spend time at a poetry challenge blog on Myspace.com. I do that for several reasons. One, I love the challenge of off the cuff writing, of having a topic thrown at me and then setting forth to see what happens. Flexwriters Cafe, at Myspace, throws up a different challenge ever day of the week. But, I go on Mondays because that particular challenge is hosted by an old friend from years back.
Her name is Marsha K. Nelson and she used to be my techie when I was publishing a small writer’s magazine called SpiderInk. I would put all the pages together, then bring them to her in an envelope and she would do the layout of the zine and return them back to me for printing, often enhancing the written pages with images she seemed to have an endless supply of.
We actually worked only four doors apart on the same city block. She, as the secretary of a local church, and myself as the general manager of a new/used bookstore. And of course, we talked a great deal about our personal lives, and our shared interest in writing, especially poetry. It was also during that same time period that I began to work as a free-lance writing instructor. Marsha took personal writing lessons with me in exchange for her technical skills of layout and design.
Eventually, we drifted apart and I moved back to my home town. Then last spring, I stumbled into Myspace and began to slowly put together a profile page (splittingdarkness on my blogroll), and to post some of my poetry there. I had been doing a particular exercise of writing a poem a day, and was looking for a home for all of those words. When I finally went exploring the greater Myspace site, I found the Flexwriters Cafe and investigated it, only to find my old friend Marsha hosting the Monday blog and challenge.
When we finally got reunited, she asked if she could feature my person and poetry on the blog. I was flattered and intrigued all at the same time. That took place on Nov. 17th of this past year and was an astounding experience in so many ways. Before, and since then, I have taken part in her weekly challenges whenever possible because they are truly inspiring and the atmosphere on her blog can’t be beat. It is positive in its approach and warmly welcoming to anyone who chooses to participate, in whatever form they might have chosen.
And Marsha does what Marsha is really good at. She creates a theme for the day, then puts up images that may relate to that general theme, as well as music that enhances both. There are no titles, or seldom any words attached to the images, so the inspiration flows in a most natural conduit from image to writer, and then to the page. And the response is pretty close to immediate as tons of folk participate and leave encouraging and supportive comments after each independent offering. I have found deep pleasure and satisfaction in being a participant, as well as some of the better poetry I have written.
Which brings us, finally, to today’s poem and title piece for this blog. As I said, I went to Monday’s blog as usual. Only to find that Marsha’s theme for the day was Winds of the Soul. She had put up twelve very diverse images and each one seemed to speak to me, creating a sort of pleasant cacophony of whispers in my head. I couldn’t decide where to begin, so started with the first one and made my way through each of the images, writing down notes to see which of them spoke most clearly.
By the time I was done, I could see connecting links for all twelve images. Those images are on the side bar of this blog on a page that is titled Images for Title Poem. Take a look and see how they connect to the Title Poem and inspiration I found on Marsha’s blog. I wanted a title poem and I certainly got one. I think it would be exciting to occasionally have Marsha come here and do her magic. What do you think?
Words are winds
that move my soul,
allow me to soar,
yet keep me tethered
to a truth that is blue
with knowledge of self,
while grasped in hands
gone stiff with age.
A long forgiven rage,
now light as feathers that fan
my face, takes me to places
unknown, where the wild in me
finds peace in a sunrise,
but keeps eyes wide open
just above the water line.
Words soften the contours
of life lived in quiet contemplation,
where inner child stands alone
to watch small birds blown
across an ever changing landscape,
hears drifts of piano music
that tickle inner ear, like single tear
shed, bleeding red on this naked
woman kneeling in hope
for awaited enlightenment,
that bursts from chest
in drive to express soul songs
they have created.
Elizabeth Crawford 1/5/09
Postscript: The Stormy Monday blog no longer exists. Marsha went on to other things, but is still writing poetry. We do exchange words, periodically, but I miss the wonderful wealth of images she provided.
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Elizabeth, thank you for sharing this. I’m happy to finally read the title poem of your blog, and to hear the story that inspired it. It’s a beautiful poem. I love the contrasts and movement of it, from free to tethered, from peace to eyes wide open.
Richard, thanks again for taking the time. My introduction to the Stormy Monday blog was exhilerating, to say the least, because I came to it (thanks to Marsha) as a guest writer and speaker. But it certainly encouraged me to create my own blogs and to stay with the process. I love the synchronicity within the story itself and have always believed that we writers, because of our ongoing connection to the subconscious through our chosen art, are really fortunate to have such a wealth of that element in our everyday lives. Here’s to more of the same for all of us.
‘but keeps eyes wide open
just above the water line.’
Since I am a water sign (I think) and I do love the water…I can so relate to this line. The whole journey too. I think many writers, while on different paths actually go through similar experiences.
This is a delight. Thank you for providing the crumbs to follow.
Thanks so much Jules and I’m tickled that you are delighted. As a writing instructor, I often told my students that one of the most important things they could do is to tell their story. Who knows when, or how, some stranger might need those exact words? And thanks also for the new poetry form,