Thursday, May 7, 2009

It Is

my kind of hallmark moment

It’s couscous, spicy greens,
yams sweetened with syrup

and pecans; it’s my clothes
laid out and my messes

put away without any
fussing; it’s the lists

made for me, emails reminding me
what I’ve forgotten; it’s coming

home each night to a kiss
and him listening to my

fussing; it’s the conversations:
Darfur, indi films, preteen

obsessions. It’s the knowing
I’m enough and I have plenty.

How does the change in line breaks affect the read for you?
* In honor of my recent talk of food and comfort here's an oldie. I'm in the mood for revision. All feedback welcome. What direction should I take? How do I expand or condense this?

11 comments:

tea said...

I'm so happy you're going to post more poetry.

maureenpoetryblog said...

what a great gift: "knowing i'm enough"!

Thinking Aloud said...

It's knowing that friends that you have, though you have never met, care enough to let you know when you are missed!

Thinking Aloud said...

Here's my tanka:

been away awhile
seems like months even years
catching up tonight
I want kin, so I plant it
next to the Blackeyedsusans

Deb said...

I thought I recalled couscous. :-)

I'm no queen of revision. (If you don't know, teach, is my motto.) Whether to expand or contract? Hmmm.

The last line (love pairing of enough and plenty) should have been pointed to from all the previous lines in some way, even if subtle? Do they do that. I'd start there, and move backwards. See if you have earned the conclusion.

susan said...

T, welcome back. Love your tanka.

Deb, there's an idea. Wil give it some thought and then see what I can do. Thanks.

Claire HM said...

I'd have play around with line breaks and punctuation. It might enable you to draw links between the differing parts of the list.

Just as an example, using what you've already got:

It’s couscous, spicy greens,
yams sweetened with syrup

and pecans; it’s my clothes
laid out and my messes

put away without any
fussing; it’s the lists

made for me, emails reminding me
what I’ve forgotten; it’s coming

home each night to a kiss
and him listening to my

fussing; it’s the conversations:
Darfur, indi films, preteen

obsessions. It’s the knowing
I’m enough and I have plenty.



With this kind of structure you get unexpected yoking together ~ like:

"what I’ve forgotten; it’s coming"

Just a suggestion, I am sure there are many directions you could go with this idea. Great work and great generoisty of spirit in the shout out for feedback :-)

susan said...

Claire, love the version you've offered!And I agree. Line breaks can affect a read.

In my experience, feedback more often than not helps even if it initially stings. You can't improve your craft if you're thin-skinned.

Author Amok said...

I tell kids that lines of poetry are like playing "whip" on the playground. The person at beginning of the line and the person at the end of the line are the most important/active. Love this poem -- the theme speaks to me as a working writer mom!

sarah said...

let me start by saying I love this poem! And now to business -

for me, if you break a poem into distinct sets of lines, that structure has to speak strongly to the meaning of the poem. I myself tend to break a poem according to the rhythm of a poem's voice and the rhythm of its meaning. Organic structure. I try not to be clever about it. I'm not saying you're doing that here, I'm just writing generally about line breaks. If I'm going to be honest, I would like to have seen this poem in its original state, with a more fluid structure; I would like to have seen where the words fell naturally together. But that's just me.

I am wary of revision. I feel if we revise too much, and think too much about how it should be, we start moving away from the heart of the poem. Change a word, correct the rhythm, deconstruct thought to find the natural structure, yes. But take a poem and wrestle it into a newer, tighter shape - risky business!

Adele said...

To be honest, I couldn't stop thinking about the couscous and pecans. You've made me hungry lol