Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lost & Found: In Memoriam

Last winter I went to this totally amazing Billy Collins lecture and came out from it with a burning desire to write poetry. I scribbled a couple poems on loose pieces of paper and random notebooks, taking inspiration from my daily surroundings and trying to see life as I thought Collins did. It didn't last long, maybe a week or so. I got lazy and soon moved on.

A few months later, I found myself in a creative writing class that completely fostered my once imaginative soul. When we came to the poetry section of the course, I remembered one of the poems I wrote during the Week of Poetry, and decided to submit that for my piece. The night before the assignment was due, I looked for the paper I'd written it on, only to find it had disappeared. I threw together a new version on the same theme, but was mostly disappointed with it.

Recently, I found the original poem! It wasn't as earth-shatteringly poignant as I thought it was, but that's hindsight. Anyway, here's both versions, in chronological order. Any suggestions?

The silence serves as a haven.
I take out my book and read,
until the silence, and the luxury
of an entire couch to myself
steal my thoughts away.
I start from feigning death
to a room surrounded by it.
I realize this quiet, morbid room,
is full of students studying,
glued to books, computers,
iPods, and sweet surrender of sleep,
oblivious to the tomb they sit in.
Display cases full of gilded names and plastic
roses on black velveteen,
a dark silhouette against a white orb,
red white and blue.
I cannot use this place so casually.
Haunted by the mothers, the wives, the siblings,
I walk into the warmth outside.
Glad to have my homework finished.


An enveloping quiet
highlights the silent cases
full of memory and sorrow.

Rows of enameled names gleam
golden against the burnished backdrop
held in oaken arms.

An eternal rose rests resplendent
on dark velveteen fields, behind
the garish glass.

Above, a circlet of white, holding
silhouettes of towers and figures
within the square of black.

This hall of death is shrinking,
crushing with the weight of lives
sacrificed for the "greater good".

I leave the tomb-like room, and step
into the warmth of outside day,
glad to have finished my homework.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

what are you asking for suggestions on? the poetry? which one is better? cual? ps. when i get out of creative writing we should have a writing group club thing. it would be cool.