revisions and short poems

At the prompting of a friend, I have revised the last stanza of the free verse poem, “Telling.”  Making revisions is challenging, not necessarily because I think that the poem should not be changed, but because in revising, I almost inevitably take things out of the poem, and the things that are taken away, while removed for good reason, are nonetheless things that I regret not being able to include in the poem.  Sometimes the lines left out are simply not good, in that they aren’t saying anything meaningful or beautiful.  But other times, I take out lines that I think are wonderful but don’t fit with the poem as a whole.  So here are a few of those lines from various poems and drafts that never made the final cut, but are (I hope) still worth reading:


With your forehead resting on my chin,
you told me that this is what being alive must mean.


Maybe one day we can learn again
how we are harboring a secret potential
to be companions.


Open your mouth, and I’ll pour some wisdom down your throat.
Let me light this candle and in just a second,
you’ll be inhaling all its truth and light and smoke.


The rose on the coffee table is wilting and bending over to stare at the floor,
and I can only wish that I go out so gracefully.


What is left to say between us
besides the bare necessary words
to break the silences
when they grow for too long
and threaten the integrity
of the empty spaces of our room?


You were thinking of
home and mountains and trails
that never ended and went
deep into the alcoves of your mind and
I saw all of it because
I was eavesdropping on your dreams.


2 Responses

  1. These are cool. Do you mean this to be a stand-alone poem or is it just a collection of a deleted lines? I actually really like the idea of a poem made from lines cut from other poems. Kind of like a found poem, except you found it in your own work.

    • Thanks for reading! These are meant to just be stand-alone short poems, but it would be interesting to try to re-work them into a complete piece. I’ve done found poems before, and I’ve also written poems that take as their starting point a line from another writer’s work. Using other writers’ words can be inspiring and useful, I think, especially if you can’t think of anything to write about, but I often feel somewhat disingenuous when using other people’s ideas.

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