My friend’s gift of a magnetic poetry set has inspired me to begin a project that will force me to think imagistically with greater frequency. I’ll try to create a new poem or part of a poem every week, sometimes following rules that I’ve set for myself, sometimes letting whatever is at the front of my mind take the reins. This will be an exercise in control (the poems need to be short, and the “word bank” that I can use is limited by the extent of the set) and in writing “coldly” (I’ve discovered that many of the words in the set are rather “poetical” and to use too many of them in combination would be a recipe for affectation or “preciousness”).
Here is MagPoem number 1:
Here we dream of water like bitter honey,
music shot with iron blue shadows,
a dress smeared with light like blood.
* * *
A bit “poetical” for my taste, but as subtle as I could get for the time being. The poem mainly began with the image of the dress; I’ve been studying the concept of melancholy in literature – the endless trap of pain that haunts war refugees, prisoners, families with histories of abuse – and imagined moving through a geographical or psychological place of suffering and being unable to escape it in one’s dreams. I imagined shades passing into the underworld, souls about to enter purgatory, former slaves and prisoners waking with nightmares.
In case you’re wondering, by the way, here’s what the poetry looks like set up on my fridge (I’ve since loosely grouped them by prepositions, pronouns, articles, simile/metaphor words, suffixes, negatives, conjunctions, helping verbs, so this picture doesn’t represent what it actually looks like now, but it gives a general idea):
Off to plan Tuesday’s workshop.