Where do you find words? I am always in search of the right words, whether I am writing a poem or a blog post or a Facebook message. The right words in the right order.
As I sat next to Vannisa while she revised a poem to enter into a 4-H poetry contest, she and I stared at the screen. She was looking for the last stanza, the inner thinking, that punch of an ending. Where were the words she need?
I pulled out a precious Mary Oliver book from the shelf, A Thousand Mornings. Vanissa swept her hand over the cover. She knows it feels soft, like silk. I read aloud the last lines of some of Mary Oliver’s poems. I was teaching Vannisa how to “steal like an artist.”
This is the list we made:
I can’t share her final draft because we’ve sent it in. Maybe she will win. But we both won when we sat together with the master Mary Oliver and celebrated the right words.
As I continue to write a poem a day (Just one more day, folks!), I decided to use these stolen words in a poem of my own.
The male cardinal
wakes us every morning
with his earth-praise–
morning music making.
I nudge the cat
to move off my foot
stretch out of bed
while you stay, softly snoring.
The day wakes.
My body is still tired.
But this cardinal
is determined in his glory-making.
until I turn and see
in his tree-temple
of the morning.