Reply to the Question:
“How Can You Become a Poet?”
(After Eve Merriam)
Sit by a crackling fire
under a star-filled sky,
the air alive
with the song of crickets
and tree frogs
thrumming and trilling
Let their music seep
into your soul.
Study the flames,
leaping and licking
at a teepee of logs,
illuminating the night.
dancing and swirling,
tracing a glowing trail
as they race toward the heavens.
© Catherine Flynn, 2015
Poets often talk about finding the right form as being the key to unlocking a poem. This is true for this draft. I jotted notes and images for this poem two weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been carrying them around with me, talking myself through different combinations of words and order of lines, but nothing satisfied me. Then, as I was looking for another poem in Mary Ann Hoberman’s outstanding collection, The Tree That Time Built, I came across Eve Merriam’s
“Reply to the Question: ‘How Can You Become a Poet?’” I immediately recognized Merriam’s free verse examination of a leaf as a potential model for my campfire images. The original, which you can read on many websites and blogs, is focused on a single object, whereas I’m trying to capture an experience. Here is a link to Heidi Mordhorst’s post about how Merriam’s poem nicely illustrates the connection between poetry and science.
Please be sure to visit Michelle at Today’s Little Ditty for the Poetry Friday Round Up.
9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Channeling Eve Merriam”
I am dazzled by this poem, Catherine. Lovely.
Wonderful choice of your form, Catherine. Just that first line “Sit by a crackling fire” is beautifully inviting.
What a beautiful poem and I love the ending as the “fireflies” race toward the heavens. Just lovely!
Nicely done, Catherine. You have admirably captured the essence of an important moment. And that’s when you become a poet!
Did you find the form or did the form find you? Funny how that works if you just present something to the universe and open yourself up to the answer. But any way you look at it, it’s a beautiful poem, Catherine! I love all the details of the vibrant night, those leaping, licking flames, and the firefly sparks.
You may have borrowed form, but your words sparkle.
Be dazzled, indeed! Yes Yes yes. Great answer, Catherine. I’d love to see you address more questions in this manner! xo
I heard those frogs, because they sing like that in Australia, too! You got the sound perfect. (Love.) This is beautiful, Catherine.