The art of cutting back

This is our craft: we cut, we prune, we thin –
we carve away unnecessary stone.
We open up the space that lets the light flow in.

We card the wool, we comb it, and we spin
stories. And then we cut them to the bone.
This is our craft. We cut, we prune, we thin.

We paint our canvases, we keep the colour thin,
as if the shadows that we see have blown
and opened up the space that lets the light flow in.

We write our poems, verses clear as gin,
and cool as ice, compact as cherry stones:
This is our craft; we cut, we prune, we thin.

We prune our orchards, treat our trees as kin,
we tend to them because they are our own,
we open up the space that lets the light flow in.

We are the guardians, firm against the wind
that breaks and tears, that seeks to overthrow –
this is our craft – we cut – we prune – we thin –
we open up the space that lets the light flow in.

For Brendan at earthweal. I thought I’d write a villanelle, as that feels like a crafted form.

I’m also putting it up for Laura’s dVerse prompt on repetition. Do check out both prompts – both are consistently interesting, exciting and inspiring!

20 thoughts on “The art of cutting back

  1. What a greatly crafted poem on the craft of poetry! And that craft so well tended and with the clear purpose of clearing away to let light in. What shines in poetry is too often accidental — nice for us but of no real help to the poet — stepping aside with care offers polished surfaces which allow the light to shine. Great response to the challenge, Sarah. – Brendan

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  2. Wow! That’s lovely! Thank you for such an uplifting start to my creative day. I shall strive to follow your exhortation:
    “this is our craft – we cut – we prune – we thin –
    we open up the space that lets the light flow in.”

    I really like your identification of craftsmen and craftswomen as guardians of civilisation.
    The third stanza is particularly vivid imagery.
    The poem isn’t perfect – you know where the shortcomings are, I’m sure – but it stirred my emotions profoundly.

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  3. Gah! This is fantastic. I love the imagery and enjoyed so much the form – I love pantoums and villanelles, and this one is special. “We cut – we prune – we thin.” Indeed we do.

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  4. ah employing the Villanelle is such a good use for the epiphora too. Beautifully crafted with some wonderful wordsmithing around the whole notion of pruning
    “This is our craft; we cut, we prune, we thin.

    We prune our orchards, treat our trees as kin”

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  5. I love this… the form is perfect, and the refrain of pruning to let the light in is wonderful… still I feel that when I sit here in my un-pruned garden listening to bird song I am glad for not pruning (or cutting the lawn)

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