Word Crafting

What in a Line?

Take a number 2 pencil,

soft lead,

no eraser.

Sketch the outline.

Mark the shadows.

Note the highlights.

In pastels

detail the work.

Add perspective, dimension,

point of view.

Shade in tang.

Let it rest.

Draw it again –

in vivid markers.

Like Picasso’s bull.

Just the bones,

the important ones.

Then erase half.

Does it squirm?

Terse in its candor?

Then it’s a poem.

Where I Come From

I am from piercing blue winter skies,

from hoarfrost on casement windows,

from bare feet on cold floors,

from living room fire, coal in the basement.

I am from knowledge I’m kin to the dogwood under my window

who whispered of spring, buds and blooms,

of change and adventure.

I am from angel food cake and corrective shoes,

From Indian Pudding, maple syrup on snow,

from Howdy Doody to Lucky Pup.

I am from family treks in the snow-embossed woods, 

gather laurel, tuck behind mirror,

mass in the willow basket at Christmas.

From jugs of apple juice on the back porch,

that raisins bubble to hard cider.

I am from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and Angels ‘Round My Bed,

puzzled by Father God and Mother Nature,

From Rose Red and Rose White, Rumplestiltskin and Rapunzel

From Annie Get Your Gun and Merry Widow.

I am from huddles in the bathroom with my mother,

light only from the purple black-out bulb,

listen to planes overhead, mother’s murmurs,

they are friendly planes but we still had to be quiet.

I am from rumors that a neighbor is a Nazi spy,

gives radio guidance 

to enemy submarines in the bay.

From going to a black market butcher, surprised

that the tiles on his walls were white.

I am from walks down McCoom’s Lane to the woods,

From ladies’ slippers and Queen Ann’s Lace,

buttercups, violets, Solomon’s seal, Jack in the Pulpit.

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