Wednesday, May 12, 2010

[ Untitled ] a poem by Mary Knowles

[ Untitled ]

A Poem by Mary Knowles

I sigh.
Poems are hard to write, and I have to write one.
I am not exactly a poet, though people guess that I am,
    the same people that think I must dance ballet
    because my hair is in a bun.
I want to be a writer in the future, a newsgirl, but not a poet.
But I remind myself, any kind of writing is hard work,
   like mentally breaking up earth, plowing fields
   and sowing many sentence seeds.

With the warm laptop on my lap, the washing machine oscillating
   and the finish line in sight,
I stare down another assignment.
And I like the click of the keys, even when it’s mostly the backspace key,
   the lightning of thought striking screen --
   and occasionally, as Mark Twain would say,
   the lightning strike of the perfect phrase.

Someone once said, “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure,”
   and I say, when I write, I feel God’s pleasure,
   the God who gives good gifts but buries them in fields,
   hidden until someone sacrifices much to dig them out.

Now the rocks are coming away from my field,
    and the weeds, and the thorns.
And I think, I am small, and I stink at sports,
    and I will not win “Miss Outgoing,”
    but I can become a writer if only I keep chipping away with my spade,
    or perhaps that would be my keys, even my backspace key.

I still sigh, but now it’s a different sigh.

Poetry Activities
  1. Read the poem and copy one line or phrase that you particularly like.
  2. Jot down one thing that you struggle with in writing poetry.
  3. Notice the similes and the metaphors in this poem. Copy one down, and tell which kind.
  4. Write a poem about your dreams for life.
When I taught middle school English, I asked my students to read this poem and do some of the above activities.

My daughter Mary actually wrote this poem when she was in high school, I think for an on-line English course.  And she is a professional writer now!  

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