It has been many months since I wrote a poem, and even longer since I tackled a prompt from Carry on Tuesday. But over the last week I have worked on a poem from a prompt now two weeks old, the title to a song that saddens me greatly. The prompt, #109 is the title to Abba's song, "Slipping Through My Fingers," a song I know well from Mamma Mia!, a favorite movie of mine and Elizabeth's.
As a mother with three teens and a "tween," I am all-too-conscious of the slippage of time. I recall too easily our children's baby-days, their toddler years, their early school lessons. Veggie-Tales and Magic School Bus has been supplanted by Call of Duty Modern Warfare and Battlefield: Bad Company.
Last week I took the kids to my parents' beach house, half a block from the Pacific. While E walked with my mom to her hair appointment, I escorted the three boys to the beach. I sat in my beach chair, Kindle in hand, while J took out the boogie board to ride waves and T and B created sand sculptures, digging a protective ditch against incoming tides with a long-handled shovel.
The Carry on Tuesday prompt came to mind, and, grasping pen and notebook, I scribbled rough words, a draft of sorts, trying to pin down images before brisk breezes and faulty memory could tear them away. Following is the third-draft product:
in this light diffused
glowing beyond shifted cloud
above the glistening curl of waves,
he totes seaweed--
a head of hair rank,
spindled from ocean floor
woven onto firm shingle.
with perimeter of uprooted grasses
and oblong ditch dug deep,
he guards his delicate sand creations
from dervish of encroaching fingers,
a deathly shiver wracking.
but this mass of brownish-gold,
pointedly bulbed, thick-skinned and slippery,
cannot halt the immutable tides--
as i discovered for myself,
far too young on similar sands--
when innocent kisses, tentative touches
were shielded from prying parental scrutiny--
lacy foam, salted shockingly cold,
surging above bare ankles.
it all tumbles back in rough surf,
memory upon icy memory,
despite the years that slipped
through our fingers....
Copyright 2011 by Susanne Barrett
I'm not completely happy with this poem...yet. My mind creaks with disuse, verse awkward at the tip of my pen, tap of my keyboard. For once I am accustomed to writing fiction--perhaps the first time. Prose is the skin I fit in best right now; poetry stretches.
But how can I not reach, stretch, when opportunity allows? A rip here or there will not matter much; needle and thread are ready at hand, even if mending is untidy.
One must try to fit, after all. Writing should never be comfortable but always a reaching--a stretching--painful at times but how growth happens....
That's how writing becomes life.
Poetically yours, as always,