Thursday, May 6, 2010

Poetic Asides Returns to Its Wednesday Prompts with "When Did You Start Writing Poetry?"

When Did it Start

So we were moving again
And I didn’t do it well
Even as a child; just didn’t
Recognize it for the soul-
Destroying event it would
Prove to be

And my mother said
Go through your papers
And throw out anything
That you absolutely do
Not need – that meant
Pretty much everything
But –

I found this little wooden
Box that I didn’t remember
And it was stuffed
With all these little
Notes and they were
Mostly short poems

And I wondered where
They came from and how
I came to have them
As I sorted through them
Kind of fascinated as they
Seemed, in an odd way

About a third of the way
Through the stack I came
Upon a heart-breaking
Poem that described an
Incident that I remembered
Clearly and in such detail
I found my face wet with tears

Wait a minute – was it
Possible – I scooped more
Of the poems out and started
Looking at them hard —realized
Some of them were dated—
Went back over several I had
Already looked at

Felt twinges of recognition
Starting up the way it does
When you finally realize
The person you just met
Is an old friend and you
Just forgot momentarily
What they looked like

Memories like photos in
An album started to flash
Through my mind – words
Like headings and descriptions
Were the poems and pieces
Of puzzles, and they were clicking
Into place faster than I
Could keep up

As near as I could tell
Some of the poems were
Printed as early as kindergarten
I would have been five —
And the poems from then
Were unbelievably dark—

Written by a sad, sad child;
I remember stuffing them
Down to the bottom of
The box, but not destroying

Even back then, I knew no
Matter how upsetting my
Work was —I did not
Want to obliterate
It —ever. It was the record
Of my life; my poetry was
My way of bearing witness

I think I was about ten
During this move and
Had already started keeping
A diary – I kept writing
Poetry and never stopped.

Finding the poems
From my childhood
Has always seemed
A watershed moment
To me...
Probably because it was.



  1. Oh so tender and fragile are we -- your poems echo about your heart and emotions come tumbling out on paper wet with tears.
    - a time when we should be free and have no demand on thee. Lovely...


  2. I really enjoyed reading this poem! As joanny said, emotions just came tumbling out upon the paper. This is a well written poem!