Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Nienie, Poetry and Beauty

As evidenced by my less frequent posts, there are lots of things competing for my time now that school has started. I think of and pray for NieNie, Christian, the children, and their families every day, frequently several times a day. Since I suddenly find myself so busy, I have decided to write a Grateful post once a week. Grateful posts will appear every WedNieNie'sDay. Why Wednesday? Well, it is the middle of the week and I think we all need a pick me up when Wednesday rolls around and looking at the good in our lives can provide that pick me up. So, WedNieNie'sDay it is!

Poetry class was tonight. We talked about the work of Louise Gluck. Wild Iris is the poem we looked at most closely. After Gluck, we critiqued the poetry of our peers.

My piece:

He sits on his front stoop
still and alone
in the dark
letting the night settle on his skin
Resting his elbows on his knees,
his head in his hands
He collects his thoughts
then empties them from his mind
one by one
As the cars go by
one by one
Soothing him with their steady hum
Their sound the only confirmation of motion
in his otherwise stagnant world
The Man in the Moon shines down on him
and he lifts his eyes from the crack in the pavement
long enough to bathe in the light
allowing himself the danger of dreaming
of something bigger waiting
for him beyond the stoop

Comments include:
eliminate last two lines
Man in the Moon doesn't work for me (many people said this)
break this piece into stanzas
play with punctuation
great sounds at beginning of poem
like the line "letting the night settle on his skin" (many liked this)
"one by one as the cars go by" gives sense of sound, nice
nicely rendered situation
breaks at the beginning gives reader time to settle into poem
love "danger of dreaming", strong line (many said this)
strong ending
strong lines, "lifts his eyes... bathe in the light"
want to know more about "him"

In sharing poetry with others I see that no matter the level of skill, we each have a distinct voice, are developing strong voices. Being in a room full of fellow poets is powerful for me and a privilege because these people are opening themselves up to me through their poetry. I think that poems reveal so much of the interior of the poet and to be trusted with that is such an honor. I feel like my words are sounding shallow, but I am sincere and wish I could express it in another way.

Beauty. This evening I was walking to catch the bus to school when a man, a complete stranger, walking toward me looked at me, said "You are beautiful" and kept walking. I said "Thank you" and kept walking. A bit baffling as I am wearing my glasses, my hair is poofy from the moisture in the air, etc. Also, I don't really think of myself as beautiful; I feel I somewhat blend in until I open my mouth and speak; I think my voice, ideas, and intellect bring me alive and set me apart and make me beautiful more so than my looks. I was also surprised by how easily and casually I accepted the compliment. Where does my confidence come from? How much of a role does confidence play in one's beauty? The man brought a smile to my face and gave me lots to think about. Thank you, Complete Stranger Man!

On that note, Good Night!


  1. in thinking about the poem, I am picturing your husbad, very clearly. In thinking about poetry, I wonder if people who know you differently see different things in the poem. I like the structure of the thoughts being emptied one by one and how that mirrors the structure of the cars, passing....

  2. My dearest k1 teacher,
    Interesting that you picture my husband because this poem is not about him at all. I agree that it is interesting to think about different people who know me in different ways seeing different things in my poetry, BUT also potentially more interesting to read the poem as if you don't know me, as if I am just another poet, then what do you picture, what do you see when you read it? That last sentence was really long... Anyway, thanks for the comments :-)

  3. of course i'll send you the link- it's actually going a few days strong now! i just need your email.. thanks!


Have a Brainy and Beautiful Day! Love reading all the Brainy and Beautiful Things you say <3