Genesis of a poem

Friday’s post had to be written quickly and early as I knew I wouldn’t have time later in the day. I’d been kicking around a few ideas and even had a post half-written, waiting to be completed, when shampoo got in my eyes, flashes of bathtime struggles reemerged, and a poem was born.

I chose a poem because there wasn’t enough substance there to warrant an essay or a story. So once I I’d dried off and dressed, I tried to capture those moments. I wanted to juxtapose the first few minutes of fun in the tub with the anxiety of water and soap getting in my eyes. I don’t think I’ve succeeded there yet. In a later draft, I may want to include the Barbies that usually joined me in the tub once my sister and I outgrew bathing together (though never as many as there are in the picture) or swishing the washcloth through the water like a dolphin or my fascination with the whirlpool that the drain made.

Until I’d written it, I forgotten all about the protective magic of the washcloth or the epic battle we’d have about combing my hair out afterwards. My hair still gets really tangled. I do like the line about broken promises of No More Tears. I didn’t know where I was going once I’d gotten the memory down, but then remembered bathing the little people in my own life, repeating my mother almost word for word. But it still didn’t feel complete.

I added the last stanza, looking for some import to these memories. I wonder if I’ve introduced a much larger idea about the nature of pain and our response to it than the few lines I have written. I need to return to them and really figure out what I want to say and do it justice. But that’s what second drafts are for.

I’m participating in the Slice of Life Challenge. Won’t you join me?

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Published in: on March 23, 2014 at 5:07 pm  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I always love hearing the back story behind people’s writing. Thanks for sharing this! It will be fun to show to kids.


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