To Be or Not To Be Buoyant,

NaPoWriMo 2019 – Day 26

To Be or Not To Be Buoyant

Definitely feel a lack
of commitment to this written
obligation I have tethered myself to.

Would far rather be out,
down by mouth of the river
watching Pelicans float.

Or flying in formal formation,
black hemmed white wings spread,
large straight beaks leading the way.

Instead, am tied by fast thinning thread
to unimaginable menagerie of words
with singular intent

to fly free, wings spread in formal formation,
they actually believe, I alone
might give them.


Elizabeth Crawford 4/26/2019

Process Notes: After first writing here, I often go to Facebook to read and say hi to friends. The last few days, have had a repeated advertisement pop up announcing a Master Class in reading and writing poetry, taught by former poet laureate Billy Collins.
Within the attached video, Collins speaks about the structure of a poem. How it begins with an undisclosed subject, and how the proceeding stanzas lead to the closing stanza, where that subject is revealed. In all my years of writing, reading, and teaching poetry, I had never heard such a succinct definition, and have spent some time wondering if I’ve ever knowingly written such a thing. This morning, as I roamed through my media files, the only image that really spoke to me was the pen and ink doodle that opens this post. It always reminds me of how loosely (?) I am seemingly tethered to my adventures of writing, color, words, and lines. And the words of that first stanza were written without hesitation because they were my truth in that moment. I really did wish to be elsewhere, especially down by the river, watching the pelicans, who are a symbol of incredible buoyancy. Only to have the words lead me directly, and knowingly, into the structure that Collins had described in the video. Got to love it when that happens. Final image is a photograph, taken by me, at the mouth of the river, with the Pelicans flying above.

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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2 Responses to To Be or Not To Be Buoyant,

  1. Marianne says:

    I still feel totally committed to NaPo, but I have definitely not felt inspired every day. Thirty days of poems is grueling, but I’m so glad I’m writing again. And only 4 days/poems left. I can’t believe it! I want to thank you for writing with me. You are so good at this and your words always encourage me. I don’t think I’d still be doing NaPo if it wasn’t for you. So, many thanks!

    Now, to your poem! It would be so lovely to watch the pelicans on the river. I don’t get to do things like that anymore, and I miss that part of my life. Your words do take flight, Elizabeth! They soar, with purpose and a steadfast beauty!

    I’ve been listening to Billy Collins, too. He’s wonderful. I’d love to take his class, but I think it’s $180! Granddaughters will be with me tomorrow for that overnight. I will have to be very careful with my time, so I manage to post something! The finish line’s in sight! We’ve got this, my friend. ❤️

    Marianne, apparently there is a shorter course, 20 classes for $90. Just not sure I’d stick to it. They supply all the materials, but you work through it on your own. And that’s still a lot of money. Although I don’t have the kind of obligations that you do, I’m just really undecided.

    Glad you like the poem. I had no idea where it was going until I got there. That happens a lot. Sometimes think that poetry is simply allowing one self to become no more than the vehicle the words need and use to get to where they want to be. I know that’s a very simplistic thought because there must be a working mind to drive that car, but sometimes it feels like my mind goes into automatic pilot and am always sort of surprised when it is all finished. Or maybe I’ve been doing this for so long that my mind does the work and doesn’t bother telling me all the small steps between here and there?
    I love the pelicans and it delights me no end that they are a symbol of buoyancy. They are huge creatures and yet travel the waves with ease. If you’d like to see more pics, go to my site and type the word pelican in the search engine. I no longer own a vehicle, but my sister knows how much I enjoy them, so takes me of an afternoon, sometimes.
    And I doubt I would have made it this far for NaPo without your consistent encouragement. Thank you,


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pamela says:

    I love this poem and I didn’t know that about pelicans. Thanks for sharing the information. Thank you for being here along with Marianne and Brenda for this crazy poetry month.
    And I said I wouldn’t be too busy this year with classes. Well, that wasn’t exactly right.


    Thank you, Pamela for being here even with your busy schedule. I grew up in this city and lived here until I got married. My husband’s job took us about 150 miles south. And I never knew about the Pelicans until I moved back here in my sixties. They migrate here, every year, and inhabit “Pelican Island” out in the Bay. I was about 65, the first time I saw one flying overhead as I crossed the river one day. At first I thought I was seeing an apparition, only to find out they are a regular and permanent fixture during the spring and summer months. What can I say, I’m a sucker for wild creatures, their mythology and symbolism.



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