Many years ago, I wrote a note
on a sticky pad of paper
ask Ruth, it reminded me,
about the Poet’s Union. I’ve
lost that scratch, and we’ve
lost Ruth, but I’ve an envelope
with dues and oath.

Roethekian, I’ve heard, is what
my poems are like. It’s true,
I live in the North West, but
I’ve not read Ted.
I bought a book, but I’m not
so sure – I enjamb, so much more.

In my darkest hours, I want to cut
like Sylvia. My demons prefer
to wail in winter, instead of
growling in the night. My anxiety
has teeth, however, and aches
and bleeds and bites.

Like Sharon, I’m not so sure
I deserve this fate, or that
I can fulfill it. Staying
upright never was my power,
but if there’s an icicle
between us, I’ll try to
melt or break it.

Back to Ruth it is, I guess,
the coat I’ll borrow from her –
in her pockets I’ll find a yearning
of earthy wants, doors
of practical closings, anger
all consuming, and letters
from our Grandmothers.

Specific references:

Ruth Stone, Some Things You’ll Need To Know Before You Join The Union, Second Hand Coat

Sylvia Plath, The Death of Myth-Making

Sharon Olds, Fear of Oneself

Na/GloPoWriMo Day Fourteen goes a-hunting for the things that made us:

“think about your own inspirations and forebears (whether literary or otherwise). Specifically, I challenge you today to write a poem that deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems. These could be poems/poets/poepl that you strive to be like, or even poems, poets, and people that you strive not to be like.”

Plath, Olds, and Roethke are poets I’m growing into reading. Ruth Stone, however, was one of the first poets that felt like a kindred spirit to me, and I will always treasure the few days she spent on my college campus. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet her, take a workshop from her, and to be able to read her, still.

5 thoughts on “Origins

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