Rediscovering poetry

When I was younger – all through college and shortly thereafter – I wrote a fair amount of poetry.  Most of it was mediocre at best, although there are a few poems that I am willing to share.  Some I already have, although most of the ones I have posted here are fairly recent.  I hadn’t thought about poetry as an art form in a long time, and hadn’t gone back to re-read my early work in quite a while.  That has changed recently.

I have been participating in a workshop at church in which we are studying the works of Mary Oliver, a Unitarian Universalist poet, and exploring how it can relate to our spirituality.  This past week, we read and analyzed her poem “In Blackwater Woods“.  There were different perceptions of the imagery in it – many in the group read it from the perspective of seasonal cycles and letting go of that which we cherish, such as children who grow up.

There were other ideas that floated around the group, though, and one in particular struck me.  A woman who had lived out West, and seen the results of forest fires, read the poem from that point of view.  When she shared her vision of what Mary Oliver was describing, it reminded me of a poem I wrote about a year out of college, when I took a trip to the Pacific Northwest and drove through an area that was coming back after a fire – the kind known as a “prescribed” or “controlled” burn.

So in honor of Mary Oliver, here is the poem I wrote over 20 years ago.

Lonely Lives Lost

The hillsides I pass

are scattered with


of tree stumps –

Lives lost to man

to save lives from nature.

Violet flags

stand tall

among the lonely


mourning the soldiers of the forest.


I am going to spend some time re-reading my old poetry and seeing if there is anything worth salvaging, intact or with work, and then sharing.


4 responses to “Rediscovering poetry

  1. I have been considering putting some poetry on my page, too. I don’t know why I don’t. It’s odd. For some reason it feels almost more person in some ways than sharing my non-fiction reflections and thoughts. There is something about poetry, the way it is born — the people to whom it is connected. I’m not sure I’m that brave. I think that secretly I’m not sure anyone wants to read my poetry. I’m probably scared it’s not that good. But I don’t want to hear that, if you know what I mean. Thanks for visiting me today and leaving a few memories from your school days, Ms. H. 😉

    • Thanks for coming by The Spirit Within! I am not sure anyone wants to read mine either, but if I put it out there, and it speaks to just one person, then I will be glad.

  2. I see this scene very clearly in my mind’s eye. Favorite female poet is Emily Dickinson. It is extraordinary that a person that lived such an encapsulated life was so broad and worldly with her view and words.

  3. This poem was absolutely worth sharing. I loved it.

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