Poetry Challenge #5

My final Poetry Challenge post! Oh my...

For this post, I'm going to reflect on my spring break.

No, I didn't go to the beach. I didn't party. I didn't do anything crazy.

Well, except...


This week has actually been pretty wonderful for me. I've made some serious headway on my new manuscript, beginning to fill in the chapters I've planned out for it. I wrote 3 poems from scratch and have a pretty good draft going of a fourth poem. I had two wonderful critique sessions with other poets.

Spring break, I seriously wish you didn't have to end. I seriously wish I could give so much of my heart, energy, and brainspace to writing year round. Instead, I find myself in ravenous writing sprints in these little calms -- the week of Spring Break, the month of May (and maybe June, depending on my teaching schedule) and December. My progress is slow, but there is progress to relish in that will carry me through the next few months of craziness until I can do this all over again.

That's my life. ;-)

Yesterday, Linda said that she was considering doing NaPoWriMo this year. If I participate, it will be my third year doing so, though I've never been particularly successful at it. I always end up with about 10 shitty drafts of poems, two of which that will eventually amount to anything worthwhile. But you know what, that certainly is better than nothing. Last year, NaPo seriously helped me to tie up the loose ends with Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots. Maybe it's just the craziness I need to keep on trucking with this next manuscript...

Anyway, this morning, I read an interesting quote about running (something I'm trying to get back into) -- that long distance running isn't a sport for those needing instant gratification. Runners make gains slowly -- I've been adding one kilometer to my "long runs" each week. Progress has been slow, very slow, but it's there, and I feel my body adapting and regaining some of its strength. In order to make ANY progress at all, though, I have to be consistent, put the time in or else I'll burn myself out.

And maybe writing is like that too. It's the consistency, about making small gains each week, about setting goals and working towards them. Hmm... it's so difficult to do, though not impossible.

With my new manuscript, I feel like I'm still at the beginning, just setting the pace for the long, difficult, but oh so enjoyable run ahead. I can already feel the runner's high coming on.

Enough of that. Here's poem number 5!

The Grapevine

Every story is the same – there’s life,
there’s death, then life again, and now it’s spring –
the season where my husband tends his grapevine,
runs the newest tendrils through the fingers
of one hand and holds his pruning sheers
within the other. Green is everywhere –
the canopy, the stems, the tiny buds,
but most of all, the leaves, the size of palms
and fingers reaching out in offering.

These rustling limbs are shelter for the weary:
ladybugs that come like beggars, always
hungry, fireflies that need some respite
from the sun and wait for night to dawn,
to cover up their faces, set them free,
and me, who comes in curiosity.

His clippers shush the choir of kisskadees;
the thumping of a branch against the earth
resounds across the yard and takes my breath.
He snaps the branches to a naked trunk,
a lifeless shell of what it used to be.

It’s what you have to do,

he says, once done,
and turns the garden hose on when I ask,

If you want this water turned to wine.

I decided to post this piece because it began as a Napo poem last year :-) Through countless revisions, I'm now pretty happy with how it turned out.


  1. I like to look at peoples poetry and I like yours, although I am not a poet myself. I will follow your blog with interest.
    Please visit mine and follow me if you like it.


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