nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

take flight, metal wings, take flight

with 12 comments


A fellow blogger recently suggested a different way to present poetry in a post – to give a little background on the poem’s origins and perhaps show the evolution of the poem from draft to ‘final’ stage.

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Sounds like fun!

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The poem below began with a watchful eye.  I am always on the lookout for an image to inspire a poem.  Walking the path to the door of our house, my mind was on the rain, the warmish day and the forecast, an expected return to freezing temperatures.

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I spotted the bird bath, full of leaves and melted water.  And perched on the edge of the bird bath, a moulded metal bird.  This bird is bolted to the edge of the bird bath’s copper rim.  Presumably he is there to attract the real birds.  But since no real birds use the bath, he is the only one ever there.  My relationship with this metal bird is mixed.  I like its quiet perching on the edge of the bath.  I like its rusty patina.  I don’t like its occasional disappearance when its metal bolt lets go.  Then, I have a struggle to find its little metal body in the thick layer of leaves under the bird bath.

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So this is the set-up for the poem – a day of January thaw, melt water everywhere and knowledge the metal bird will not stay put.

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First, a photo of the metal bird.  The words ‘take flight’ were bumping around in my brain and I knew I would have a poem from this.  I want this poem to be about opportunity, about taking change and turning it into possibilities for an altered future.

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049_crop

I’m a poet, not a photographer …

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Then, I grabbed my ‘rough book’, the place where every poem I ever write begins.  Sometimes, I hand-write several drafts, but in this instance, I felt like typing, so I copied the rough draft into the computer, almost word for word, but not quite.

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img139_crop

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brief thaw

2nd draft

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metal bird, embellishment

of the copper bird bath in the garden

take your chance, your flight

temperature at melting

perhaps your rigid wings

can flex, find feathers soft

as tomorrow’s snow

fluid as ice now running

in the brook, molten icicles

their glitter subdued

follow chickadees who land

grab a seed and return to the

woods for safety, take your leave

and next spring I will not

find your rigid body fallen

wrapped in last year’s rotting

leaves on warming ground

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So that is the rough poem.  I like it.  It flows, it contains some interesting metaphors, and it captures the possible flight and altered future of the metal bird.  It needs editing.

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For the next draft, I ‘press’ on words, getting rid of some, replacing others.  I annotate the earlier draft, finding places where I like the flow, where I find internal rhyme or alliteration.  In this poem, there are lots of words about metal, and I hope to include others.  I change ‘ing’ words and the past tense to verbs in the present when possible.

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brief thaw

3rd draft

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metal (iron) bird, (silver-plated ?) embellishment

of the copper bird bath in the garden (doesn’t matter if it is in the garden)

take your chance, your (take ?) flight

temperature at melt  (title says this)

perhaps your (rusted?)  rigid wings

can flex, find feathers soft (fine?)

as tomorrow’s snow (when, last week ? next week ?)

fluid as ice, now running runs

in the brook, molten icicles

their glitter subdued

(take flight ?)

follow chickadees,  who land

grab a seed (from the bird bath ????) and return fly to the

woods for (woods for  ?) safety (of the trees ?) , take your leave (take flight ?)

and (and or/ore) next spring I will not (not ?)

find your rigid (rigid ?) body fallen (fallen ?), wrapped

in last year’s rotting muck rot of

leaves on warming (new-warmed?) ground

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Well, I made a complete mess.  Perhaps the fourth draft will be an improvement.

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In the fourth draft, I incorporated the above ideas, and made a lot of changes.  For example, I tried some different approaches to stanza …  some of my poems are very irregular in their stanza breaks.  I think this poem needs stanza breaks to help the reader.  I also wanted to repeat ‘take flight‘ at intervals in the poem.  Although I considered stanzas of three and five lines, my final decision, four stanzas of four lines, was based on the syllable counts of the lines and the sloping shape of each stanza.  I am a rabid syllable-counter.  I find it helps me decide what words are not needed at all and makes me consider alternatives.

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brief thaw

4th and (for now) final draft

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iron bird, embellishment

of the copper bird bath

take your chance

take flight

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perhaps your rusted wings can

flex, find feathers, fine as

next week’s snow

take flight

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molten as icicles from

the feeder where chickadees

seize a seed

take flight

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or next spring find your metal

body rigid, wrapped in

last year’s rot

of leaves

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take flight

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Before I make further changes to the poem, I will read it aloud several times.  The repetition of ‘take flight’ may have to go.  Notice, I have not changed the title of the poem … that could change, although I like not mentioning the actual thaw in the poem.  The title is a great place to add other information for the reader and I often forget this opportunity.

Do you have suggestions for other changes I could make to the poem?  I welcome your comments!

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

 

Written by jane tims

January 21, 2015 at 7:33 am

12 Responses

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  1. Man oh man Jane,,,you “never” seez ( did I spell that right.?) to amaze me.!! Very very interesting you are. I am learning a lot from you,,Thanks.!

    Liked by 1 person

    patsi

    January 25, 2015 at 8:57 am

    • Hi Patsi. I wonder if you’ve written any poetry? Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      January 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm

      • Oh no Jane,,,no poetry but I have 40 years of “journals” ,,all written since we were married in 75, and now I am going to write a C-mas story for my grandbabies. By golly girl,,,,I am so amazed at all the things you know and do. Keep it up.! I love it all.!

        Liked by 1 person

        patsi

        January 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      • Hi Patsi. You could trade it all for just that one Christmas story, written to your grandchild! Jane

        Like

        jane tims

        January 26, 2015 at 3:13 pm

  2. This was so cool, Jane – loved seeing the process and the changes and choices made – and loved the final incarnation – K

    Like

    The Course of Our Seasons

    January 24, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    • Hi Kathleen. Thanks! I am so methodical about my writing, I sometimes wonder if I over-revise. It’s hard to know when to stop making changes! Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      January 26, 2015 at 8:44 am

  3. interesting process – mine is much the same but less organised!

    Liked by 1 person

    kiwiskan

    January 21, 2015 at 3:04 pm

  4. You know for sure I enjoyed your explanation. 🙂 Poems/posts don’t create themselves. There is a lot of thought and editing that goes on before we feel it is right for publishing. Thanks for sharing the process. I love the brown shades of the leaves on the ground.
    You wrote, “So that is the rough poem. I like it.”
    It is always a great feeling to look at our own work and say “I like it.”

    Liked by 1 person

    ladysighs

    January 21, 2015 at 9:05 am

    • Hi. Thanks. You know it was your post that inspired me to do this. It was helpful for me to put the process in words. Jane

      Like

      jane tims

      January 21, 2015 at 9:12 am

      • Yes, I know. 🙂 I wish I had the ability/stamina to edit and revise etc etc. If I can’t come up with and complete a poem in 15 minutes or less, it goes in the delet folder. 😦
        I am always counting syllables on my fingers. Doesn’t always come out the way I want but I try.
        I do think it is helpful …. if only for ourselves … to write about how a poem comes about.

        Like

        ladysighs

        January 21, 2015 at 9:22 am


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