We live in the house of fiction.
Which is more than being merely
writerly, Tessa. It’s not as if
we writers have it bad, like
measles or something.
Jesus, how to explain?
Some days you feel bereft.
Spare, tight, callous even.
Drank and sighed, blighted as
the shadows that fell between
the lintels. A dark spell
like a ruinous bell.
Then arose, arbitrary, oblique,
a line so neat, startling
whatever decay. Some flair
for words bloomed–a bridge.
So it was, Tessa, we’ve followed
Dickinson into this room.
Prompt: You’ve probably recognised the title borrowing Dickinson’s line. Borrow it for yourself. Or is the word, leverage? I’ll reproduce the whole poem for your edification and imagining for your own poem. For it is this house that we inhabit, isn’t that so?
I dwell in Possibility
BY EMILY DICKINSON
I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –
Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –
Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –
The color of deep russet orange.
That’s okay. We’ll muddle through.
I think we’ll keep on imploring
the higher, all-powerful one,
the elusive, keep-all-the-cards-
hidden one; the cynical versus
humorous one; would I go as far as
to say–capricious, clever one!
These poems, where did they come
from? Long ago, even she, my forebear,
might have written them. There they
were buried beneath plaster, covered
by perspex, just a layer deep. You’ve
to scrape through dirt. What you’ve
practiced–with bare hands, a tool–for
a while. Wedged, preserved, found.
Prompt: We look upon objects as artefacts. They embody cultural meaning. Words are artefacts too. Okay, poems I’m thinking of. Have you ever wondered, considering the infinity of poems one is capable of, where the heck they come from? Is there in fact a collective unconscious as Yeats believed? That we could retrieve this pool of meaning through reading, isn’t that marvellous? How the hell are we supposed to retrieve than through reading and writing, you tell me? So reflect upon all I have said. Write, see what you’ve retrieved.
You’ve exhumed my ghost.
Sifted through dust,
so here is the temple of
what I’ve become.
Sheared of wool, and I’m some whitewashed
thing turned, bleached, sanded,
Well at least I’m not red-faced.
Nor plump, nor hankering,
nor wavering. But I still do
have a mouth.
And I lie. Here I go, teeth biting into
banana fritters. Sneer all you like.
Prompt: There’s this quote I read: “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished.///That will be the beginning.” Louis L ‘ amour said it. I’ve no idea who he is and I am not about to find out. Instead I’ll ask you to write a poem inspired by his quote. Alright? Alright.