One of my first connections to poetry was reading Lucille Clifton’s Homage to My Hips.
While we come from very different times and backgrounds, as a teenager who didn’t conform to the “standard beauty” that was (peer) pressured at the time and who also didn’t really care to, it just clicked. This poetry was simple, of few words, and yet so powerful. And when you read it aloud, you really felt the empowerment, love, and disregard for anyone else’s opinion about yourself. You felt soul and sounded sharp.
I wanted to write like that. And so I did back in high school. I wrote short, simple poems. I wrote fiercely feminist poems. I wrote out more of my thoughts and emotions through carefully crafted lines – rewriting anger into art, awkward moments into accessible lessons, and more than the occasional fun poem honoring teenage moments, including losing my first car. While I hope that these high school poems were transferred from older computers to usbs at some point during one of my many moves, they won’t make it onto this blog. As promised, I will share a (very recently written) poem with you:
when i am lost
i head into the woods to try to find myself
collecting pieces through clicks of a camera
roots, fungi, rock
and searching for something unexpected
a hidden sign, an animal slipping by noticed, heart shaped leaves
inhaling crisp pre-dusk air, exhaling stale incessant thoughts
i lace together the parts of my day that require remembrance and the running storyline of my current venture
–stopping only to photograph a moment and adjust a shoe.
sometimes some body runs past me
i don’t want to follow unless it’s to catch myself
sometimes i find a new path
unlike most of my life, i am curious to explore, fearless without thinking
i always find something in these woods – part of myself
encouraged, delighted, content
perhaps, i need to return to the woods before i am lost
my collection to grow without going missing
the search no longer for myself but simply connection
of trees, pine needles, dirt, moss, and the wonders of nature that live grounded
with or without me present.
While my writing has shifted – moving from poetry to nonfiction and coming back to poetry again- I hope to embrace the short poem again. Simple words – nothing you need to look up. I want to make my poems accessible to readers and inspire others that they can enjoy reading poetry (and maybe even try to write, too). As Lucille Clifton continued to write about aging as she aged, I hope to write and blog about my growth as I continue.