Sunday, November 26, 2006

Writer's Diary #12: Untitled

I hate publishing my poetry immediately after a write the first draft, yet for some masochistic reason I can't stop myself. At least I always remember to add the disclaimer that it's a first draft. That way, if there are major problems, or if I look back later and roll my eyes, at least I can take comfort in the fact that it needed a lot more work. Anyway...

When    I    lived
in the North
I saw snow
mounds as dead;
corpses quilted
in heavy white.

Down South
these graves (and mine) would go
if not for the footprints
of millions.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Have I ever told you how much value I get out of reading your drafts of poems? It's true, because I am trying to understand what makes a poem work, and to see the changes that you make to a piece and to hear your explanation for the change is invaluable to me. So thanks.

Is the spacing in the first line intentional? To me it seems that it not only puts emphasis on the the fact that you lived (were alive) when you were in the North, and consequently were not alive in the South. This theme is carried through in the second stanza where you reference your own grave in the south.

Pardon me if I am being obtuse about this poem, but I am just learning. And feel free to correct me please.

John Mutford said...

You're not being obstuse at all! In fact, I love the questions and feedback.

Yes, the spacing in the first line is intentional. I wanted it to express a feeling of an ellipsis, plus I wanted to isolate the "I", and as you say, emphasize the "alive in the North" message. I have to admit, since I've learned how to add extra space in a horizontal line through Blogger, I've been experimenting a little more.

Incidentally, this isn't exactly the 1st draft. When I was transfering the poem from paper to blog, I added the "(and mine)" part. I wanted to reflect back on that first line a little more. Until then, I didn't think it had continuity.

I thought about it after and wondered about the north/south connotations. Remember, I'm writing this from a place where Labrador is South, Edmonton is South, and Thunder Bay is South. It could change the perspective, context. Though, I haven't decided if it matters.