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I don't remember when I started writing poetry, it seems to always have been a part of my life. I have poems in scrapbooks that I wrote when I was a freckled adolescent, odes to the cats and my friends. Poetry was all around me, it seemed. There were funny little rhymes and free-form snippets in my Highlights, angsty teen horribilus later carefully cut out of Seventeen magazine and pasted lovingly onto construction paper, heavy hardback Children's Encyclopedias full of classic poetry and fairytale stories that my mom read at bedtime, and which I still have, battered and tattered with love.

Writing my own poetry was a matter of consciously snatching words from my brain and using a pen to force them to hold still on paper. Reading the poetry of the greats was a way to learn how others did it, how they found the ways of seeing and watching and observing, and then the ways of forming and metaphoring until what they wrote matched what they saw in some amorphous or clearcut way. It took me a long time to find that voice, and some days I know that I am STILL finding it, that it may never be found. How exciting, I think, that I will be able to continue developing and exploring that voice, which is so fundamental to the way I share my worldview with myself and others, for days and seasons and years ahead, until my eyes close for the last time. Here is my voice, then. The first was sparked by a line I read in a book I love. The second was written when I lived in Chicago, that large and lovely city.

Walking the Mad Edge

With a small
glittering smile coming before
she was here
and with her were the sighs
of darkly patterned leaves
and the rustling of certain
small animals
in the underbrush
she had so carefully
walked through.

With a long
lean cat-shadow following behind
she was gone
and with her were the songs
of certain small birds
and the screams of the lonely
ones clinging to her hair
she had so carefully
let down.


The Weight

I didn't understand the world was so full
despite having flown halfway around it
until living in this barnacled shore,
this town, this wheeling chaotic anthill;
these hardened shells of buildings.
If I relax my mental vigilance
the enormous realization: all these brains
humming in tandem, random
bursts upon me; a dizzy array.
Everyone stomping on the earth.
Even God: a little mad with this immensity.


Where the Cool Kids are Hanging Out These Days: Poetry Thursday

Bright and Bouncing, Beautiful Birthday Wishes to same_sky!

Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: First Time in the Pool
mood: working
music: The Corrs—Love to Love You


Thank you!

there was an article on voice in writing, and the challenge of it, of finding one, of retaining it. How one person said you shouldn't have ANY writing around when you are writing or else it infects your voice - allthe way down to turning away cereal packets! Others said just write and it will come. Some said read the greats and write as them, and as you grow in maturity your voice will form.

Perhaps "voice" is a bird singing. If you hold it too tightly it stops, but if you do not hold it tightly enough, it flies away and dissipates.

It seems to me your voice is nightingale fine, cushioned in your embrace, safe and strong.

What a lovely thing to say. Thank you :)


Elizabeth, these are infreakingcredible. I mean it. That first one, geez. And the second ~ that ending! Both your endings are fantastic. I also like what you wrote about reading poetry. It's the most important element in learning how to write.

I am sooooo happy you shared you work. You know I've been bugging you to do so.


:) I just wish I was writing more NOW. Poetry, I mean.


I enjoyed your description of your love for poetry almost as much as your beautiful poetry. I also have fond memories of Highlights magazine, mostly for the cool puzzles.


Re: poetry

I recently got a subscription to it for my son, and watching him enjoy it is wonderful and raises a lot of great memories for me, even though all the illustrators are different nowadays and it's very strange to see, for instance Goofus & Gallant not looking at ALL how they "should." :D

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lizardek's obiter photos
lizardek's obiter photos

Feeling generous? Be my guest!

I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Abraham Lincoln

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