I’m reaching and falling.
I’m hemming and hawing.
I’m trying and failing.
I’m rowing, now bailing.
— from my poem “Writer’s Block“
My mind has been going a million miles an hour in a hundred different directions lately, and it’s making writing difficult. I’ve been working on a new poem (which I love) for the past several days, but I’m having a hard time finishing it. What am I trying to say? It’s a question I haven’t been able to answer . . .
So . . .
Tonight, rather than trying to kill myself working on the new poem (or my regular Friday post), I decided to honor the recent full moon by re-tackling a poem I wrote this past April. I love this one but was never fully satisfied with its beginning . . . (To be honest, I’m still not satisfied with it.)
You’ll have to tell me what you think.
Click the arrow for an audio recording of this poem.
The Visitor, Revisited
who has our heart,
for you we wait,
oh, days, depart!
And as the night,
grows ever near,
we clasp our hands,
are filled with cheer . . .
Here she comes, o’er top the hill,
robed in dewy beauty white.
Seeing her – it is a thrill!
She’s always such a pretty sight.
And when she comes,
we mark the clock;
beneath her glow,
in whispers talk.
And wish we that
she wouldn’t leave,
but stay with us
just one more eve.
But on she goes,
and there she’s gone.
And we, alone,
at break of dawn.
I probably shouldn’t even comment because u know I am a JessPoetryAholic
I *do* know – which makes your comments all the more meaningful…
Poetry is my nemesis. I could make a career just in editing the poems I write that I think are great and the next week, on further examination; find to be weak.
The loose rhyme structure that the week previous seemed to flow and make sense seems to be confusing and hard to pick up on.
As for your poem…it is a wonderful ode to the full moon that I have been enjoying on my drive home from work.
Awww, I’m glad you liked it, Steve… But, driving home from work on a Saturday morning? Hope you get to do some fun stuff this weekend, too!
And as for poetry rhyme schemes… The best cure I’ve found is reading them out loud. The first two stanzas of this edited version were spoken many, many times…
Well, the past year and a half have not been ideal for me at all. This was after a forced career change. So all the things that come with a solid job went out the window.
Now when the “TGIF” celebrations start up…it is the signal of my work week kicking off…in the early evening. So no weekend fun for me!
But it will change. Life has a way of doing that from time to time.
Sorry to hear that. :( But I understand. And yes, life does. It shifts! ;)
I guess we all have to get our downtime whenever we can. Doesn’t only have to be on the weekend… So whenever you get it, enjoy!
There is something about a full moon that makes me a child again, makes me want to sleep outside and never go back in. On certain nights, the light of the moon shines so bright that you could practically read by it. One of my favorite things in the whole, wide world…
This is a great piece, Jess. “And we, alone, at break of dawn.” Beautiful!
The full moon is my favorite thing, too, Vance! I will stay up late just to wander under the it, and I love it when its light comes through my window into my room at night. Truly, there is nothing better.
I’m glad you liked that last line. I was always very pleased with the last three stanzas.
When I lived on the farm during college, my Grandma had this old blue Chevy Silverado, and on cloudless, full-moon nights I used to take off in it down the network of gravel roads that criss-cross the county. I’d shut off the headlights and just coast along in the moonlight. THAT is what beauty is all about…
I LOVE it!!! I am always riding my bike on back roads with the light off under the full moon…
If that poem was a foodie picture, it would spark a shopping day at the organic produce department of color, and the productive regenesis of sun and sky in all those colors, and the endlessness of the anticipated goodness messaged there to us.
What a wonderful – and kind – analogy, Mike! Thank you. I’d like to think we could all use a little more time in the organic produce department called Nature.
I had a great fascination always worked inside me when it was full moon in the sky… Truly speaking I always loved her as my lover….Kinda stupid right..? hahahaha…This is ME..I spent many nights just looking at her….loving her….!!
Thank you for writing such beautiful poem……!! I love it
I tell the moon I love her every time I see her, Kazi… You’re not stupid. I’m so glad you liked this one! :) jess
My first impression with the introductory words is that you would do well to consult Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, where she discusses the Morning Pages.
Your “My mind has been going a million miles an hour in a hundred different directions lately, and it’s making writing difficult,” reminds me of the greatness of free writing when one wakes. Cameron says that when you wake the first thing you do is spend 30 minutes or 3-4 single-spaced pages writing whatever comes to mind and not question any of it. From this, you garner words, or at least for me, many times the event is almost complete in and of itself. It teaches you to write in the minute and not question your thoughts and you’ll find that they are often complete and profound. Otherwise, you can always edit later. Writer’s block becomes a thing of the past. All you end up needing is to concentrate.
The second impression is that your voice doesn’t match your picture. You have a quiet, articulate voice almost trembling vs. your image as one of someone who is quite beautiful and therefore, I would assume, confident because of the world’s response to you. (Beautiful people are often seen euphorically.) Sadly, I had attributed your face to one who might say, “Like” a lot, which is a byproduct of not having to work hard since the world is already in love with you.
In hearing and thinking about the poem itself (third impression), I picture how Emily Dickinson might sound and write. Therefore, not actually remembering what Emily Dickinson looked like, I perceive her to have been attractive in a petit way, which you are, but I don’t think she was as attractive (turns out she was not). Your words remind me of hers. Your meter certainly and way of rhyming reflect her style, which is not to say that I can remember her poems. I just get that feel from your work.
I am not sure, she dealt with “Celestial Ones” or others wishing such persons were not gone, but maybe she did. I feel she was a sneaky woman providing subtext as she sang.
Take this poem, for example:
Part One: Life
SUCCESS is counted sweetest
By those who ne’er succeed.
To comprehend a nectar
Requires sorest need.
Not one of all the purple host 5
Who took the flag to-day
Can tell the definition,
So clear, of victory,
As he, defeated, dying,
On whose forbidden ear 10
The distant strains of triumph
Break, agonized and clear.
And so, if it is your intention to provide a poem with “the visitor, revisited,” as one that describes you, the “Celestial One” for whom we all pine, then you have succeeded. For this is what we do (at least what I do) is “mark the clock;/beneath [your] glow.”
For I have never succeeded
In comprehending a nectar
Because I live at a distance from the war.
And I am not one to appear in battle
Nor wish agony or break for triumph-sake,
Yet, I crave the nectar from afar.
So many interesting points, Mario. Thank you.
Yours is not the first mention I’ve heard of Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way,” I really may have to pick it up. I agree that there’s a lot that could be gleaned from writing for thirty minutes upon first waking. That is usually the time I’m checking my blog, anyway. ;)
Your comment about “all you end up needing is to concentrate” strikes me, though, as exactly my problem. Or… I suppose it’s picking one thing to concentrate on? For my blog, it’s deciding what to focus on next. The world is full of so many interesting and important things — both good and bad!
As far as my appearance matching my voice… My vocal cords were slightly damaged during my time in the hospital after my rock-climbing accident, so there’s that. There is also the fact that my gravatar image is a kind one. I really should change it as I have never considered myself particularly beautiful. (My post “i love…me?” touched on the way I tend to view myself…) And I certainly do my best to avoid saying the word “like”! That’s just one more reason I am glad I grew up in Northern rather than Southern California.
Dickinson’s poem was beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I do resonate with much of her work. History tells us she was largely a loner, and I can relate to that. And whether or not she had physical beauty, her words demonstrate a beautiful character and large heart. Sometimes I really do think the world would be better off if we were all blind! ;)
Best to you. Thank you so much for your comment. I hope you’re having a lovely weekend! – Jess
When you wake in the morning that which is important is there. If you wait, it disappears and you are stuck with this uncertainty you talk about.
Why would you change your gravatar image if it is a kind one? The Dalai Lama said to be kind.
As I said, you are not the type to say, “Like.”
I too am a loner, but probably only because I have a weird schedule. What’s your excuse?
I am sure you are correct about the equalization inherent in blindness, but so much of me would be missing if I were blind.
I see what you mean… But what if everything in my head first thing in the morning is personal? Obviously I choose to share *some* of my personal experiences/views on my blog, but clearly it’s a fine line…
I absolutely *do* write best first thing in the morning, though. With that I fully agree.
I’d change it because I don’t want to attract readers who are only looking for a pretty face… Especially since I do not look like my gravatar image all or even most of the time!
Why a loner? A lot of reasons. Personality, situation, perspective. I’ve never been a party girl or part of the popular crowd. In Asia, I didn’t understand the language, so I ended up feeling very isolated a lot of the time… Now that I’m home, I am in a very different situation and have a very different perspective than most of my old friends. What does someone who’s married with kids and never left California care about Taiwan?
I’m not saying sight isn’t a valuable sense. I just wish less emphasis were placed on looks and more on all of the other amazing qualities people have. We can only control our looks so much, after all.
Love the Writer’s Block poem that opened this post…it makes me think of perseverance and a typical day for the majority of the world’s population, always waiting for another day and moving closer to whatever dream they may have.
Your ‘Visitor, Revisited’ is beautiful and timely, both with the mid-Autumn festival and the coming of fall. The ending magnificent, as anglophiletoad mentions: “and we, alone, at break of dawn.” That perfectly summarizes how the moon should make us feel.
I always liked my “Writer’s Block” poem, too. Short, sweet, and effective — saying exactly what I was feeling at that moment (and what I have often felt since)! It makes me think of perseverance but also of patience and hope. Maybe I can’t accomplish everything I’d like to today, but maybe that’s because I need a breather? I need to take a step back and reflect? And, yes, to get out in nature?
I’ve been thinking about Mid-Autumn Festival lately, wondering if I should post on it. It’s amazing to me how unaware I was of so many of the going-ons in various parts of the world before living abroad — and even still! My experiences have only scratched the surface of Asian culture, and what of other regions? There is so much to know! Thankfully, that’s what the rest of my life is for. :)
You are so talented! You string words together so beautifully, and there is so much authenticity in your poem and prose!
I can totally relate to the “writer’s block” problem. I even get it with comments sometimes… wanting to say just the right thing in just the right way…like right now! ;)
Thanks for sharing your inspiring and beautiful work :)
Aww, and thank *you* for your sweet spirit and comment! I really do love your blog.
I think a lot of us can relate to having writer’s block from time to time. For me, I think sometimes the things that are closest to my heart, which would be easiest from a writer’s perspective to talk about, are things I must censor when I write on my blog. This is not my online diary! Hahaha. But I also know what you mean about wanting to say the right thing in the right way even in comments. I feel the same way all the time!
In any event, your comment was perfect, and I hope you’re having a lovely Sunday! :)
I really like both poems. They are quite different though, in my opinion. There’s a hint of happiness and surprise in the longer one, but it’s just sheer frustration in the first.
It’s really difficult to focus on what we’re doing if we have 1001 things running through our minds, isn’t it? Everything feels important to us. Perhaps something’s got to give. Good luck with finishing the poem – I’m sure you’ll finish it soon enough as you’ve written so many poems before this :)
Thank you, Mabel. And thanks for comparing the two. It’s funny that you sense frustration. That’s why poetry is cool. You sense frustration, I sense sadness. Or melancholy. Or… longing.
And yes, it can be very difficult to focus on the task at hand sometimes! I guess it’s something we all need to work on.
Loved your recent posts, by the way. See my comments! Hope your week is off to a great start! :)
I love picking your writing apart, Jess. I find it so interesting how you weave your thoughts together so seamlessly. And it’s engaging.
Thank you for your comments. I always love reading them. As per usual, my week is off to yet another busy start. I hope yours is off to a flyer :)
Thank you! It is! Already looking forward to the weekend. :)
You’ve blanketed my evening in an exquisite melancholy. I like the “Mark the clock, whispers talk” part best.
“Clock” and “talk” are perfect, aren’t they? I love that line, too.
You and I like our melancholy, don’t we –
If everything in your head first thing were personal, than I would perform it, change the names, use characters to portray the ideas, etc. I believe this is fiction.
I read my mother the story “The Planet Mars” and she said it was all about me. Yea, it’s about me, but I’ve distanced myself through the characters, taking full responsibility for the narrator, who uses the name “I.”
Frankly, I am only interested in the personal you, since you hold the secrets that I seek. I don’t want to know anything else. Don’t waste your reader’s time, life is too short for mistruth. Besides, it will be easier, since fiction is about the subconscious.
Your writing is different from your beauty, but it is your beauty that makes me try so hard.
I want it to be cut with as much tautness and severity of jowl. I want its deep pools of gray-green to be as mysterious and penetrating.
Forget about what you look like that’s not the point. Although I am not sure I understand the logic of best writing in the morning and a pretty face.
I see your point about Soccer Moms and Taiwan. I was talking earlier on FB about wanting to move in with a bunch of friends who are like-minded, but then I stood in my kitchen and said I would never get to write. The place has to be as quiet as a mouse.
I admire your lack of emphasis on looks.
A few thoughts…
I’ve never really written fiction. Everything on this blog is true and is me — the real me. Maybe someday I will write a story like “The Planet Mars” (which is really well written, by the way) to distance myself from what I want to say, but I haven’t felt the need for that yet… Obviously I am not always completely open on my blog, though strangely I am finding it easier and easier to share things I never thought I would…
I *too* am confused… Fact is, I write best in the morning, and I want to be known for my thoughts/words rather than my looks, especially since, as I have said, I really don’t think I’m beautiful. I have felt conflicted, though, because that image *does* attract readers to my blog…
I’m with you on quiet. I can’t write with sound. Not even classical music.
There is irony in your last statement that you don’t know. I am extremely self-conscious and wish I weren’t. I may write on this subject one of these days.
We all have our off days/weeks, and our “on” days/weeks, as you know I’ve also posted about lately. Hah! We’re never alone…us blocked writers/poets, us muddy barefooted hikers — because we lost our rubber boots deep in the mud, us constipated(?) gazers of lunar lunacy one night, then…umm, those nights of diuretic train wrecks! ;-)
Lol… Um, yeah, that’s right… A diuretic train wreck kind of a night. My thoughts exactly! :D
But on she goes,
and there she’s gone.
And we, alone,
at break of dawn.
A) I love poems like this regarding the night, the moon and the stars. Yours is very good. I can see myself in your words and the experience described.
B) I’ve spent many an early morn alone at break of dawn. It is a favorite time of day when I can coax myself out of bed. And if I’m lucky enough to watch the moon fade as the dawn breaks? Marvelous.
We are alike then, Jeff — except I’ve been staying up too late to get up in time for dawn recently! When I get into an 8-5 job schedule again, it will happen. I love the early morning, too. :)
You really have me confused! If you’re accusing me of plagiarism with my poem, you are way off! Everything on this site is from me and me alone, unless otherwise noted.
Is that your voice? Hahaha… Now I can place it in my head when I read your blog :D You have a lovely sweet voice. Mine is so hoarse everyone on the line thinks I am a man! :( Don’t worry, I’ll survive :D
Beautiful ode to the moon. I am so glad I stumbled across your blog.
Thank you so much. This is one of my favorites, too. And I’m glad you stumbled across my blog, too! Very nice to meet you! :)
And you as well. I look forward to reading much more. Feel free to drop in on my site anytime as well.