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: https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/handle-with-care-contents-under-pressure/
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
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.
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.
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.