Re-volution

Evolution stutters.
Stuff banks up, then cartwheels suddenly.
Boys become men. A woman dies.
A red leaf spirals down.
The rain starts – did you feel a drop?
I think I did – and then we’re running
under cover. Apples ripen.

These empty streets –
are they tomorrow
or a week ago? I couldn’t say.
Sculpted skies, birds calling,
spring morphing into summer
morphing into autumn.

How much do memories cost, then?
They sink into the soil,
red ice-pops melting sticky
the ground mouth-gaping,
gulping at ersatz cherry juice.

Stuff banks up. A pushchair and a rainbow dress,
sunshine on water. Piles of books,
things fluttering through my fingers.

Wait. I scribble in a yellow notebook,
tap on a keyboard,
then a typewriter,
I paint my phrases
onto parchment, vellum,
press letters into clay,
I chisel words into the rock.

I draw a horse head
on a half-lit wall.

Tell me a story. I’m all out of words.

It’s Peter’s first night hosting at dVerse, and he’s given us an exercise in editing. You can read the details here: https://dversepoets.com/2020/09/10/mtb-write-like-a-dog-edit-like-a-cat/

I don’t do much editing. I spend a lot of time working a poem out in my head, so I think I edit before I commit anything to paper. However, I regularly write for Brendan’s earthweal prompts and I find those poems tend to be a bit more relaxed and free-form than my dVerse poems. This was originally an earthweal poem. Do check earthweal out.

14 thoughts on “Re-volution

  1. I remember loving this poem nearly a week ago and commenting on your distillation of evolution. I like the revised title very much; it foregrounds the repetitions in life and the subtle changes as well as the big ones. I‘m glad you kept the cartwheeling, the melting ice-pops, the pushchair and the rainbow dress. – and the final line – it’s so important.

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  2. My goodness this is incredible! 💝 You show us how it’s done by adding finesse to an already remarkable poem. 😀 Especially love;

    “I paint my phrases
    onto parchment, vellum,
    press letters into clay.”

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  3. I can see how the ideas in the first have been sharpened in the second without sacrificing any of the vivid imagery. I particularly liked the last two stanzas – which still carry the ideas in the before poem but now have history running backwards (and the poet always there) to that wonderful last image. I also liked ‘Stuff banks up’. Great stuff.

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    • Thank you. This has been a really interesting exercise. It’s also been really interesting looking at other people’s creative process in a little extra detail. The comments I’ve seen have been a bit more “technical” than usual, and it’s made me really think about how a poem is made.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the original, and even more, really, really love how your changes morph the second version. The new ending resonates so with the life of a writer. How many times have I said…Wait, and then scribble, tap, paint, chisel, draw until I’m out of words and ready for the next story. Great job.

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  5. When I read through this, I thought ‘my goodness, I hope you aren’t going to change a single word!’ I love this, and to me, it’s a complete, polished poem. I then read your original version which is also very powerful: but this one…just don’t change a thing!

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