Two From One

For We Write Poems poetry prompt: Revisionists Unite

The prompt was to find an old poem and revise or rework it. The original poem was posted during the November PAD challenge for a prompt about containment. It can be found here:

About six weeks after the challenge, I went back through the poems. This original poem seemed unwieldy, too long, and also seemed to switch gears at some point. So, at that time I cut it back quite a bit. And came out with this:

 Caution: Contents Under Pressure

Would be great if I could crate
them all up, ship them off to some
foreign port on other side of globe.

How big would box have to be,
to hold twenty plus years worth
of memories?

Good ones would refuse to stay
still, folded. Rise up and fly around
room, zoom, zoom, and all too soon,
would be lost in remembering.

And the bad ones? Heavy with fear,
dread. Enough lead to sink whatever
vessel might be wrestled together
trying to confine them.

Would be nice if, with sharp knife,
could cut them away with one swift
slice. But then, I too, would have to go

No. Good and bad, they are mine.
Time to simply release them, free them
from tethers that weather soul, let them
slip through holds no longer fit, or able,
to contain them.

Elizabeth Crawford

Although I was satisfied to have cut it back, there were lines left behind, that I really liked. So, for today’s prompt went back again to the original. Then found that first rewrite. Was tempted to cheat and just post that one, lol. But, there were all those other lines that held such meaning. Realized that I had started out with a Universal, and ended up at the very personal. Two completely different pieces, two poems. One a story, the other an explanation, if you will. So, here’s the second half, or the second poem, based in that original piece written so many months ago.

Letting Go

Story of us and what fools
we were to ever think
we could make it through
that thick black curtain
of calculated insanity.

Vanity and pride to dream
we could slide unnoticed
through opening, while
dragging heavy baggage x 2
behind and between us.

But, slide we did, laughing
like two little kids unaware
of abyss hidden just beyond
hanging dark drape of foreboding.

With flick of wrist, light switch
was thrown, and we were blown
out of cozy little dream we’d created.

Now stand, each to one side
of darkened pit we fell into.
Sometimes think you are still falling,
and I am crawling slowly, hand
over hand, back up to surface.

Each of these words, momentary
handhold I grasp, constantly gasping
with effort to let each one go, trying
to fill that hole, moved now
only by echoes.

Elizabeth Crawford 7/6/11

Additional Process Notes: I like both pieces now, and more fully understand the original writing. And in some strange way, the second poem some what echoes the difficulty of revising a poem that holds deep emotional meanings.

About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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10 Responses to Two From One

  1. Pingback: Two From One | Soul's Music | Music

  2. Well done. I like them both! Memories, such strange things. Some good and some not so, but all mine. And when we don’t remember, where do they go? And what makes them return. I guess we could ponder them for a very long time?

    Thank you Annell. I realize that when I originally wrote it, I was moving on an almost stream of conscious level. That’s what the poem a day process seems to invoke. I wasn’t really aware of switching streams, but when I revised it, that became visible. Yes, we can ponder them for long periods of time, but I think it is better to simply honor them in this fasion and in doing that, let go.



  3. Wow, Elizabeth. These are impressive writes. The second is terrifically powerful. The heavy baggage, the flick of the light switch, the heavy curtain of foreboding. The one person faling, you climbing up hand over hand…………intense, and very very moving.

    Sherry, thank you for your supportive and encouraging words. These poems gave me a bit of trouble originally, simply because of the emotional threads. But, working through the poems and the words has really helped resolve a lot of that turmoil. Creativity, its very process, is a healing one.



  4. Elizabeth, I like both of them equally. They seem to say the same thing, but from two different aspects. Nice.


    Pamela, I agree, it’s sort of like looking at one thing from two different perspectives. That may be the result of time and the revising process, but it still is satisfying to see both of them come clear, finally.Thanks for your kind words,



  5. margo roby says:

    I had to go away and come back to reread both of these because there is such a universal truth to both, I think even the more emotional, more personal one. I like each of them best when I read it. I know these memories. They don’t let go. They may lie dormant, but they don’t disappear. I like the voice you give to each poem, Elizabeth.


    Thanks Margo, and I agree. They are relatable. But, I also think that now that I’ve separated them, that is even more true and they have certainly become more accessable to me.



  6. irene says:

    I thought the second version had more emotional gravity. Elizabeth, revising is hard. I’d rather write a new poem.

    Oh, I am so with you on that one, Irene, lol. But, the revising process does hold some important lessons and surprises of its own,



  7. nan says:

    I like these as a pair, but the first stands alone, solid, and so very well done.

    Nan, I think the original was always at the back of my mind because of those lines I cut that make up the second poem. Closer to the bone, sort of speak? Which means it will go in my private files. Thanks for stopping in,



  8. I love the imagery in the second poem. That slow climb back up… a lovely piece.

    Thank you and welcome to the girl who remembers. I’m so glad that you do.



  9. brenda w says:

    Elizabeth, I really like both of these, but together they are a gift. Look at the perspective and insight revisiting inspires. Thank you for sharing your process, too. zoom zoom zoom

    Thanks much Brenda, and you hit it right on the head. Revisiting often brings depth and insight through its very process.



  10. b_y says:

    Thanks for explaining your process. I had to go back and look at the original, because I couldn’t believe these two poems were originally one. I do like the zoom, zoom stanza of the first, but the energy of the second makes me want to call it better. Neat, getting two good ones from one.

    I like it, when those kinds of surprises are the result. It took time for me to see what I had actually done and what was really there. Revision can be like digging for gold, sometimes. And, one of the things I really like about blogging is that it seems appropriate to have some process notes. The poetry prompt circuit has become my late in life free educational opportunity and I love it. Thanks for stopping by,



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