Green

I sent this poem out -- I had written it some years back, and forgotten about it until recently -- and got it back with a constructive note, saying that the ending was too familiar. I agree, actually -- I have this tendency to romanticize, and it was easy, I guess ....

But the interesting thing for me is that the final word of the poem: green, was pretty much just a word when I wrote it. And now it is staggering under the burden of so many meanings, implications, hopes, fears.... I see language changing all the time, but I don't often pay much attention to it.

I might try to look at this again sometime, but meanwhile, here it is:
Mantis

Brown as late Autumn,
jointed with leaf-fragments,
your face a horned mask,
you pretend to be old wood.

Did a male mount you?
Did you graze on his head
as he impregnated you with twigs?

You will give birth
to copper stickpins.

When your life dries up
and you sink into earth

you will bring forth green.

4 comments:

Lucy said...

Was it qarrtsiluni you sent it to?
I particularly like
'You will give birth
to copper stickpins.'

Would you change the ending? I think it's fine but I'm not too sharp like that, it's perhaps not as startling as the rest...
But I like it anyway.

Dave said...

I agree that the last word does have resonances. My advice, FWIW: Try and return to the original feeling of inspiration, meditate on that "green" for a while, and maybe the last three lines will rewrite themselves. Because the rest of the poem is very original; it strikes me as eminently worth working on.

Beth said...

Nancy, I liked the poem very much too and do hope you will think about a minor revision, it's well worth it. One idea: delete the last three lines, make the very memorable "You will give birth/ to copper stickpins" the new ending of the poem, and add a couple of lines before that instead.

Nancy said...

Dave, Beth - thanks, it's good advice.