Blank Paper, Blank Verse

I released the words
from my pen,
Loosed them on lines of paper.

Formed verse by blank verse
occupying the previously empty page.

Depictions of my children, spouse, hobbies,
horrors, pastimes of our nation...

Then off the page they leaped
into the realm of the quick
the dead could not keep my words.

This poem was written in class with my students after reading "Anecdote of the Jar" by Wallace Stephens. I love the memory Mr. Stephens poem conjured, it took me back to my childhood catching fireflies in northern Illinois at my grandparents' farm. My brother and I would catch them and put them in a jar with a stick and some grass and fall asleep with nature's nightlight in the basement of my grandparents' house. Both basements and fireflies were wonderful additions to the reasonably blank slate that is the life of a young boy. Growing up in south Texas, my brother and I had very little experience with either fireflies or basements. 

Mr. Stephens turns the idea of capturing nature inside a glass jar on its head. Quick side note, if you are looking for a great piece of descriptive writing, look up Michael Perry's chapter about the first firefly of the season in his book, Visiting Tom. This sentence is a small taste of the wonderful descriptive writing - "Is anything so naturally fantastic as a firefly’s butt?”


Popular Posts