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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Well, I used to write poetry . . . (first of several)

I started out -- no later than age nine -- wanting to be a novelist. I wrote my first novel-of-sorts at age ten. But I didn't write my second until after I turned 55. What, if anything, did I write in the meantime?

Well, first I tried poetry. I kept at it through high school and the beginning of college. Later in college, I tried short stories, until I let myself be discouraged as to all creative writing by a stunningly clueless teaching associate. For decades, all I did was jot down a line or two of potential poetry once every blue moon. Then, while I was pregnant with Daughter #1, I started writing picture book manuscripts. Fast forward seventeen years or so, and I followed that daughter into National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo or NaNo) -- and the rest, if not history, is a total of eight novels with two more in the pipeline.

But back to poetry.

Recently, pondering the awe-inspiring bad luck of a friend, I was reminded of a poem I wrote long ago about Job (as in the Biblical figure). I dug up a folder of my poetry and looked for it. I didn't find it, but I did find a few others I liked enough to bring into the light of day.

Here's the first, one of the lightest in tone. I believe I wrote this during or after my high school physics class. If I were writing it today, the title might include the word "nerd."


Love Song

Every mass
has an attraction for every other mass
which varies as the inverse square
of the distance between them.
That is,
if you allow me
to decrease the radius of my orbit
you will find me
increasingly attractive.

I wish to
race toward you at ever-increasing speed
(known as acceleration)
(which, times my mass,
which is constant,
would become the force with which I would
collide with you,
"knocking you off your feet")
until we engage in
a perfectly inelastic collision
(in which the two bodies concerned
collide and


And yes, I know the punctuation at the end is incorrect, but it works better that way.

Here's one more, untitled, frivolous and fanciful.


The conductor and the violinist
are near each other.
Bow and baton
time after time
come perilously close.
Will they cross swords?
The conductor looks angry.
We can expect a duel
any minute.


Next time, a poem or two with more emotional heft behind them.

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