Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Poetry Talk

Some of you may not be aware of it, but back in the day, when I first started getting on the internet, I found a little poetry writing group and we had lots of fun writing and critiquing our poems. A few of my poems were published in a few online poetry zines (none were really big or impressive). When the group sort of fell apart, I learned about blogs and started this blog.

Today I decided to check on the Leisure Learning classes at our university and there is a course called "Journaling the Poetic Experience: A Beginner's Entry into Poetry Writing." I think I might sign up for the course (and hope enough people sign up for the class to "make"). It's scary to me because, like with my blog, not very many people in my day to day life, no about this side of me. And this class is being held where I work, being taught by a teacher from the English department. Yikes!

Anyway, I was at work with no access to my files on my laptop so I decided to google to see if I could find any of my poems still online (I could). There may have been five or six, but I was surprised at how several of them dealt with the subject of grief and mourning. This evening I checked my files and found this one. I barely remember writing it but I kind of like it now. And look! Tomorrow this poem will be ten years old.

Eternity’s Call

The old man always carried
his light from the lamp
through the halls of his life, sunshine
seeping through fingers like crumbs
in forest dank, golden markings
shared to guide poor souls
following who might hesitate
in the dark corners of living,
confused, and unsure.

When he reached his own dark room
at the end of the way,
through the window he saw stars,
twinkling like diamonds sprinkled
on blue jeweler’s velvet,
reminding him of the streetlights
coming on in his youth,
his nightly call to come home.

Miniscule specks of firefly light
beckon and tease.
Dimly, he can hear
eternity calling him home.


  1. I'm an old man, Annie, who never got past "Roses are red, violets are blue" with poetry; but it's for sure that your words here not only paint me a picture wherein I can almost see the old lamplighter, but they also stir me to think of our journey undetaken...........

  2. Dang! And poetry, too?

    This is wonderful. The light pictures are...radiant. :) Loved it.

  3. You should take the class. This deserves to have new poem relatives out there. I read a lot of bad poetry. This is good poetry. This is poetry that comes from a natural talent. You can learn a lot by listening to other good poets. One thing--find the poets in the class whose work with words you admire. Pay no attention to the bulk of the critiques. There are a lot of dolts in college without your experience and good sense. They will need you in class.

  4. A bit on a critique. Try to take it into present tense to see if you can heighten that sense of beckoning. For instance, take away "always" and redo the verb tenses. Another trick I do in editing is to get happy with the poem and then see how many words I can remove. Trying to shorten the poem is not the goal. Trying to reword things so that your rational mind can have a crack at what your creative mind did is the magic of revision. I wasn't a good poet until I embraced revision as my best poetic tool.

  5. Jim, I like what you see in my poem!

    Thanks, Rach!

    Thank you, Cyn, you've encouraged me to tighten this sucker up and I will, one of these days! I'll be sure and let you know if I actually sign up for the class!


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