I submitted a poem to Verse Wisconsin for their November on-line issue.    The theme was “Earthworks.”   I intended to work on the poem while I was in Greece in April.  I had visions of me cruising the islands, waking early and writing while the sun rose over the Aegean.   The reality was that our luggage was “delayed” for five days and I was in such a state of disrepair that writing a poem was the last thing on my mind.  So when I returned home, with only a week before the deadline, I had to get cracking. 

 Earthworks, earthworks.  All I could think about was ruins.  I wrote a sonnet about Greek marble.  I wrote about ruins in the ancient world and how they have been used for gardens and for clothes drying.  Finally, I thought about Indian Mounds, something closer to home.  I called it “Striated Heart.”  I was thinking about striations as streaks of light and dark at the edge of a wood where the sun enters the darkness.   Also, the heart is striated with narrow bands of striated muscle.  I was thinking how the sudden image of an Indian Mound at the edge of a wood might catch your breath and cause your heart to constrict. 

 I was running out of time.  I took the poem with me for final editw during the intermission to La Traviata, on May 1st, the deadline for submitting the poem.  I felt more was needed, but without more time to work on it, I let it go.  I submitted it that evening.

Now here’s where I’d like to insert the poem, but many publications say they won’t accept poems that have appeared in any publication, including electronic.  So for now I’ll hold off on this one and focus on process.

Here is the feedback I received from Sara Busse, co-editor of Verse Wisconsin:  “I thought this read as a very lovely beginning to some larger poem–I wanted to ask, “And then what happened? Why did her heart constrict at the sight?” It feels like there’s a story, or a meditation, some longer piece that may be on the way?”

Such good questions.   Should I return to the poem and use use it as a starting point for something longer?  How will I answer the questions?  Or should I just add a couple of lines as I originally thought?


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