Sunday, October 17, 2010

prudent microscopes

I came across my writing notebooks from sophomore and junior years. Reading through them made me miss my writing classes, and the things they made me squeeze out of my imagination like paste that doesn't look appealing, but ends up adding a bounty of flavor to the main dish.

I don't know what the prompt was for this poem, but I don't remember writing it a'tall, and it makes me giggle:

(written April 2008)

Back on Uranus,
we eat squirrel.
On earth, they're cute and furry.
I saw a girl
run over a squirrel
with her car
while using my laser vision
to toast my albino squirrel
(the white meat is healthier).
From within closed windows
I heard her scream
and saw the tires
absorb the shock
of the little lifeless body.
She kept driving,
I assume she cried,
and I retrieved
the dead squirrel for dessert.

I usually write much more serious poetry, on my own. But for writing classes I always wrote goofy things, because I was too afraid of criticism. Once I wrote a poem I absolutely loved, and was told I had to change everything about it because of "pathetic fallacy" and "archaic language." Why must there be rules to poetry?

This is the most original version of the poem I could find, having edited it to death to please the masses (aka my writing professor). I wish I still had the original, as it was my favorite. But this one will have to do:

On A February Walk (written February, 2008)

A tree branch creaks a sad, sullen moan,
a lone, tired voice in the midst of a roar.
Blustered and blown, the clouds, thick above
are sick with a gray that drifts down in small pellets
of snow that won't stick to a ground, soggy brown,
so they circle around, in careless, cold dances.

The branches are bare, with not even a coat
of ice that would care, in its unfeeling way,
to lend beauty in bleakness to a sad, creaking tree
that, in its meekness, creaks not to be heard,
but to let out the pain of its old, wooden joints
that burns with cold fire and subsides to rekindle.

Oh, winter, with winds that brutally blow,
lend me some snow in what compassion you own
to coat all that's ugly in a blanket of white
and mute my trite groans, lonely and bitter.
For somehow, to tread upon glistening flakes
makes the walk less despondent to take.

If you want, you can visit the place this poem was written. Just take a jaunt to Wilmore (some of you may already be there) and hop on my favorite college campus. The tree's the big one right in front of the steps of Morrison and, when the leaves aren't there to rustle when the wind blows, you can hear the branches creaking so sadly that the tree deserves a poem written about him. (Yes, poet scholars, I referred to the tree as he.) I listened to it on my way to class and sat on a bench with cold fingers gripping the pencil as I jotted down lines to remember later, when I was warmer and could write more.

I miss being a writer.


Christy said...

1) What is pathetic fallacy?
2) I know that tree! It is definitely poem-worthy.

Heather said...

2.) Thank you.

(No but really, pathetic fallacy is when you attribute human characteristics to inanimate objects. A tree wouldn't moan, for example. Evidently it's okay to do this in prose (and we just call it personification), but in poetry this is very taboo. Apparently nobody told William Wordsworth.)

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