I was bored last night so I started looking through some old notebooks I had kept. I came across page after page of drafts for a poem. It was interesting to me to see the process of getting the words down to what I was actually trying to say. The early drafts became the poem "Circuits" that is in my book, The Wilderness Within.
Years ago, William Stafford, Poet Laureate, looked at the poem "Circuits" in a workshop and said it reminded him of the work of Gerard Manley Hopkins. And then he asked me, "How easy is this for you?" I did not mention the pages of drafts, but I did say that I like to play with words. I do. Writing poetry is playing with words until I get it right.
Here is the poem:
Light from a star that died
from jade green eyes.
A salmon tail fans streambed stones
and dark silt swirls.
Millennia ago a star spurt fire and
now a constellation of eggs
and white milt spiral down
in black water.
Fishbone lattices litter the stream
that speaks of glaciers
Frost flowers bloom on the cut bank
while embryos curl in sweet cold sleep below.