Friday, September 16, 2016

Inch One Hundred Thirty-Six: Of Words and Writing

I am soaked in words today.

I am so soaked in words that I walked around this morning murmuring the opening lines of Eve, by Ralph Hodgson:
EVE, with her basket, was
Deep in the bells and grass,
Wading in bells and grass
Up to her knees...
Back in July, I wrote about Poetry Night. Although August was pretty much a wash for me because of travel and other obligations, here it is September and we are still at it. In deference to schedules (Michele being a teacher and school being back in session), we are going to a 2nd and 4th Wednesday schedule for the school year.

At this week's gathering, we talked a lot about the writing of poetry. Casey, who just joined the group, posed the question: How do you do it? We talked about the economy of words. Michele is teaching Emily Dickinson right now, and those are poems so sparse there is not an inch of fat on them.

We talked about saving scraps of lines, scraps of thoughts, a phrase or an idea. Michele presented a stapled together sheaf of papers in which she wrote down lines and ideas, thumbing through it to a draft poem she has not yet strung together in final form. I held up my latest spiral notebook, bought for dimes at back-to school sales and used until I have torn out every page.

Intermixed with that talk were readings of our own works and the works of others. Casey read this one by Raymond Carver:

So early it's still almost dark out.
I'm near the window with coffee,
and the usual early morning stuff
that passes for thought.
When I see the boy and his friend
walking up the road
to deliver the newspaper.

They wear caps and sweaters,
and one boy has a bag over his shoulder.
They are so happy
they aren't saying anything, these boys.
I think if they could, they would take
each other's arm.
It's early in the morning,
and they are doing this thing together.
They come on, slowly.
The sky is taking on light,
though the moon still hangs pale over the water.
Such beauty that for a minute
death and ambition, even love,
doesn't enter into this.

Happiness. It comes on
unexpectedly. And goes beyond, really,
any early morning talk about it.

It is a beautiful work that none of us knew and we all asked him to read it again, the words hanging in the evening air after the sound of the last line faded.

I walked home quickly in the gathering dusk thinking about the conversation, the topics, the words. Michele had talked about the making of ink from charred bones and that one stuck with me. Whose bones? I spent a good hour just now researching ink made from char. It is often called Ivory Black when made from bones.

I am watching the fruit of the dogwood turn red and wondering whether the little red pellets can be pressed into ink. And would I write a different poem in dogwood red than ballpoint blue?

I am wondering what it would mean to write a poem, tear the paper up, then soak and press it into new paper. What words might come to the surface of the new paper? Would it be a new poem?

I am thinking of little poems, of words writ small, of words scribed onto a sliver of parchment.

I am soaked in words today.


Laurie said...

I've made paper before, some with imbedded seeds to sprout forth once planted. No poems written on it, though, which is an interesting thought. I enjoyed reading this post, and the Carver poem.

Darla said...

Very much enjoyed the poem as I sit here in the morning dark drinking my cup of coffee.

baili said...

what an beautiful writing enriched with grave calm thoughts and a so lovely poetry ,thank you for sharing enjoyed each sentence dear.
have a wonderful times ahead