People as Poetry

Sunday afternoon – I sit in a café
Iced coffee, tiny droplets form on my cup
Music makes my shoulders dance
I face the street

Skirts, shoes, pants, flip flops; a sea of color streams past
In twos, hands connected
In threes and fours, little ones trailing or leading or
strapped to mom or dad,
seemingly suspended in air
Others are perched on dad’s shoulders,
thrilled by the view
And furry friends run along side
Catching the sun and socializing with neighbors

Music plays, lines form
Coffees, teas, snacks and more
Make their way through the door

The wind blows and sun shines
Cars and bikes, parents and tykes
Some young ladies discuss life
Others type, read or write
Wearied feet find a seat
My foot moves to the beat

Fast and slow
Together and apart
Families and friends pass by
To dinner and back from brunch
Mothers rewarded with some free time,
flowers and sweets
While fathers mind the little ones
who smile and play
Without so much as a care

I remain cool and insulated
Distracted, caffeinated
Calm and collected
Sunday afternoon – I sit in the café

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this poem. I worked on it over the course of a few hours as I sat in a café on Mother’s Day last weekend. Even though I set out to read and write a few blog posts, I was drawn to the colors, the conversations and of course the people that enveloped me. During and after the process of writing this poem (which I certainly still consider a work in progress), my choice of literary genre and thoughts about my creative process began to dance in my head.

Somewhere between the first and last words I wrote on the page was the conscious or unconscious choice to write a poem.  It led me to question why and how.  Was it the time of day, the content or my mood that led there? Maybe it was that I felt stress free since it was Sunday or perhaps it was the alluring cocktail of coffee, sunshine and short skirt weather.  Why not a narrative? I could have easily captured more details and included excerpts of conversation that could have helped to color the image for my readers. Instead, I tried to use fewer words as artfully as I could to convey the same meaning that might have normally taken a few paragraphs.  I was left wondering if the subjects, circumstances or surroundings helped to shape the choice I made to write a poem.

This led to something to the question about the validity or usefulness of multiple representations. Is there a benefit to describing something from one person’s perspective but through the use of multiple genres? In other words, what might happen if you were to take an experience and understand how different mediums of communication could illustrate different aspects of the same event or experience?  I wondered if this was something that was useful for the writer and found myself responding yes.

I then moved on to thinking about my writing and creative process. What I found challenging about writing a poem is that I had to think much more carefully about word choice. This led me to referencing an online thesaurus and seeking advice from others. I sent my poem to my siblings for feedback and after reading it, my brother pointed out “perched” might be a better way to describe the scene where the child is on top of his father’s shoulders. I originally had included the word “atop.”  Immediately I could see that “perched” provided a better mental image. Change implemented! Similarly, after rereading my poem a few days after I wrote it, I noticed that I had used the same word twice in two subsequent lines. I spent a few minutes fixing these two lines to make sure the meaning endured without sounding repetitive. What I found interesting is that I must have reread my poem ten or fifteen times without catching this but a few days away and it immediately jumped out at me.

I have a few conclusions based on this experience. One, there is something to be said for listening to instincts. If your inner voice is leading you somewhere creatively – embrace it! A poem or short film might be right around the corner.  The second is that time and space to reflect on your own work leads to interesting discoveries. In other words – read, reread, reread, reread! Or write, rewrite, rewrite, rewrite!  It’s amazing what you don’t see the first few times you read something. For a long time, I felt like the idea of originality was just creating something and not messing with it. But I think I’ve moved past that. Just because the words you wrote aren’t the ones you ultimately present as a finished work, doesn’t mean those words didn’t help to lead you to where you finally landed. Third, finding someone whose feedback you trust and value can make a world of difference.

As for the topic of multiple representations, I have been given by a close friend many articles to read, so more to come on that!

  • Bushu

    Lovely, enjoyed the flowers too.. 🙂

  • Bushu

    Nice poem and collection of thoughts.. 🙂