Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest. The blessing is in the seed. ~Muriel Rukeyser
Half the residency week has already flown here at SAFTA. Surrounded by green and no sounds but chirping, braying, crowing and wind, I have had plenty of headspace for words to roam around, and I am pleased and a bit surprised by the amount of new work that has made its way to the page so far this week. Some is detritus – practice lines, throat-clearing, pen on paper. Some has promise – some good language, the kernel of an idea that is not fully formed. And a few – yes, a few – are those rare things that surprise even the writer, that come with a force and an organic form that seems to need little meddling. I am very excited about all the draft work, but those few especially. After they are put away for a while, read aloud, fine-tuned, I will be proud to start putting them out into the world. (I’m coming for you, Don Share! I have made a vow to make it into Poetry before I turn 60 – I’ve only got six years left…)
But how does that relate to the Rukeyser quote, you ask? (You may not have asked at all. You probably didn’t notice. But I’m going to tell you anyway.) Somewhere between marching up the hill to water the chickens and baking the goat mineral cookies, I realized that the poems I had grouped to possibly become a third manuscript were not speaking to each other well. I realized that the fifty poems I had gathered needed to be winnowed down substantially and reorganized, realized that I need to write into these emerging themes even more. And so, after a sunset march up the ridge with my residency roommate, this evening I ripped apart what I thought was a staunch and strapping seedling, stripping away at least twenty poems from the stem. I am back to sowing. And that’s okay.