Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Closing the Circle (100x30)

The first steps sideways,
then the road rises,
the grass smooth,
but quickly steepening
toward the wall. Still fresh,
you clamber over, crawl
until you can scramble
to your feet again, and walk
with relative ease to the summit.

Breathe. Give thanks. Prepare.

Now the descent. At first a stroll,
then steadily steeper until on hands
And knees you behold... an abyss,
too far to fall. How to get home
from here? Fingers finding roots,
you flip yourself under, and hanging on
for dear life, hand over hand you go,
until your feet touch terra firma:
back where you began.

Process Reflection: This is a weird little experimental piece. Since this is the last post in the hundred-word series I’ve been doing, I began this afternoon by brainstorming a list of words and phrases that had to do with finishing, words like finale and fireworks and end of the road and closure, which led to closing the circle, which triggered the idea I began working with here, which is essentially a narrative poem imagining someone on a circular journey. In this case, the circle is not a horizontal construct but a vertical one. As I was writing I was trying to imagine the various physical obstacles one would encounter on such a journey, and then as I was doing that the whole thing began to take on this odd metaphorical weight. I spent a lot of time working the words, and then working the lines and line breaks into a configuration with a sort of circular symmetry of its own. The completed poem, and its last line, seem as good a place as any to end.

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