a writing fable or glimpse of the pearl

a poem in two forms

Ravenlike, I gather bits of foil and bright colored string shining objects that catch my eye dark as night and bright as the sun I arrange scraps of thought or dreams or magic spells cast in the dirt along with the cairn of stones I create with nouns and adjectives and verbs building tiny towers that collapse at the idea of you reading them nesting each offering fragile as an egg into the down of feathered fingertips quilled on page or scrap or envelope or castoff 0s and 1s left to fend for itself as it breaks into the world harsh or gentle as I am seized by the glimpse of a pearl just out of reach

***

ravenlike
I gather bits of foil and bright colored string
shining objects that catch my eye
(dark as night and bright as the sun)
I arrange scraps of thought
or dreams
or magic spells
cast in the dirt
along with the cairn of stones
I create
with nouns
and adjectives
and verbs
building tiny towers
that collapse at the idea
of you
reading them
nesting each offering
fragile as an egg
into the down of feathered fingertips
quilled on page
or scrap
or envelope
or castoff zeros and ones
left to fend for itself
as it breaks into the world
harsh or gentle
as I am seized by the glimpse
of a pearl
just
out
of
reach

24 thoughts on “a writing fable or glimpse of the pearl

  1. Pingback: Suggestion Saturday: March 28, 2015 | On The Other Hand

  2. I am instantly drawn to the second form, but prose poems have a certain feel and rhythm of their own. But perhaps more gets lost when the words all follow each other and are tumbled together – the eye tends to skim over too quickly.

  3. The second form is more helpful to the reader – especially when reading aloud – because it tells you where the pauses should be. The first is much harder to read; I found myself not so much stumbling as tumbling through it, not knowing where or when to stop.

  4. The “poetic” form lends itself to providing emphasis to frame each of the brilliant pieces of your fable, K. Besides entertaining, the piece is a lesson for us in the use of strong verbs and wordcraft. Brilliant! 🙂 ~ jh

  5. Hi Kathleen, this is the most beautiful piece of the night for me and one of your very best.. Fresh, delicate and profound all at the same time… Great work – a sheer joy to read – Thank you With Best wishes as always Scott http://www.scotthastie.com

  6. smiles…we never really know what our words will mean you know…we gather together little things found and build our cairn, knowing full well some will not appreciate it or think it different than what we did but we release it to the world to fend for itself….no longer truly ours…

  7. The second is as might be expected and works well. But the first has an unusual energy and breathlessness – hard to read without tripping up – quite different. Interesting to compare.

  8. oh i love this one much kathleen… the second version more cause it gives space to breathe and think about the images… the fragility and strength…really beautifully done

  9. what fun! I’m forever messing with arranging and rearranging my lines – great idea to post two versions of the same thing 🙂 and a great piece to boot!

  10. Lovely post and great to see both formats. For me the long line of prose gives the feeling of scurrying on without a breath searching for the out of reach pearl. But I love the way appropriate line breaks make all the difference to the pace and emphasis in the second. My favourite lines? “….Tiny towers of ideas that collapse at the thought of you reading them…”
    Writing in whatever format takes courage!

      • Hi Kathleen. My writing group enjoyed this poem very much. Thanks for giving me permission to use it with them. We are a “therapeutic” writing group, where the process can often be more important than product. So we used your poem to show how by writing with line breaks you could slow and shape a piece of “prose” and bring emphasis and meaning into a flow of words. We experimented with a similar process using some of our own “flow writing”. It gave confidence to some of the group who felt they couldn’t write poetry, and gave us all pieces to polish further.

        We then took your line “building tiny towers that collapse at the idea of you reading them” to explore our inner critic, and our fears about writing to express ourselves. It was a great stimulus to a very interesting session. Thanks again. Cilla

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