I love the Salutation of the Dawn…especially the feeling of exhilaration when an obstacle has been overcome, some piece of writing can be marked “done.”
I am finding inspiration in my old work to create and/or complete my new. Some of my creative works tumble out of my mind in an almost complete state. With others, it’s a big struggle with multiple rewrites, a difficult birthing process.
I am posting two old poems from my Mindfield collection: one that came out like a full-term baby and the other a preemie that had to go through many drafts before I could discharge it.
I wrote Toothless Tigers quickly – in a calming down moment after fuming about lost luggage at an airport. I was returning to the Caribbean from a successful stint of post-graduate study in England.
Here’s that quickie one.
A writer without his tools rolls along,
A wheelchair on imagination, he brakes
On words that ram the corners of his mind.
Once, a carpenter building the ultimate house
Lost his hammer; it slipped over the railing,
Down meandering stairways, across the labyrinth
Of unending hallways, adrift in his creation,
Marooned on a vacation, dictionary, pen, thesaurus,
Fossils in the age-old chaos of an airline bungle,
A writer without his tools, toothless tiger in a jungle,
Forced to kneel at the confessional of the wind,
Beg for its vent, scrawl along his prison wall.
Scrubbing the floor of his mind, he stoops in pleading,
Seeks escape in begging mercy of his poem.
And here is one, written around the same time as Toothless Tigers that took me an eternity and went through a million and one drafts, changing even after it was first published in Mindfield. Note: “rambler” is a rather British expression.
Memory trips you.
A long forgotten love,
A hurt congealed, when
Startled by the fury of a blare of horns,
A rambler grabs the lead on an itinerant mind
And scuttles off the crossing, noting then
The unintended stop, halfway
The bathroom singer whose voice,
A sudden waver as she stumbles
On the notes of memory, falls flat,
Crescendos fade out in a shower of tears.