Posted tagged ‘Loss that great finder-keeper’

Competing Drafts — “Sometime After the Anniversary of a Dog’s Death”

February 7, 2015

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I often call freshly posted poems drafts, which can bring up a certain digital laughter among readers/fellow poets.  I don’t mean to be falsely modest–but to emphasize my indecisiveness in writing/posting.  Sometimes I’ll go back into a freshly posted draft to repeatedly change it–other times (more often), I can hardly stand to look at something after it’s posted.  (I suffer a kind of backlash, I suppose, at having had the audacity to put something out in the world–it manifests itself as acute embarrassment.) 

One solution, of course, would be to just post less–hang on to something until I am absolutely sure it’s done.  But, to be honest, I get a huge amount of comfort and energy from moving ahead in my work, so I am selfish (or audacious) enough to put something out before it may be ready, hoping that the caveat of calling it a “draft,” will protect me on the embarrassment side. 

At any rate, here’s a poem/draft that I wrote last night, and re-wrote this morning, and I thought it might be interesting to post both, since it shows how difficult it can be to make decisions about these things.  (Please only bother to read if you are interested in these kinds of issues–)  I tend to think the original shorter one (posted first) may be better, but I also like this morning’s longer version.   Thoughts of others are welcome, as always–

 

Sometime After the Anniversary of A Dog’s Death
(Glad of the Deep Snow)

I always worried
that some animal
would dig you up,
knowing that I myself
was not a great digger,
though also an animal;

even knowing
that I’d dug deep enough
only my thighs
reached the earth’s surface
and that, later, I secured your top soil
with a host
of stones.

But how the heart is snagged
by loss, that barbed
catch-all–

Loss, you finder
of all we no longer can,
you keeper.

*********************

Sometime After the Anniversary of a Dog’s Death

I always worried
that some animal
would dig you up,
knowing that I myself, like you,
was not a great digger,
though also an animal;

yet knowing too
that I’d dug deep enough
only my thighs
reached the earth’s surface
and that I’d secured your top soil
with a host of stones;

still, glad
when the ground froze
and when even those stones
were buried; glad when the snow too
froze, and I was absolutely sure of your safety
from the claws of some harder-scrabbler–

but how the heart is snagged
by loss, that barbed
catch-all–

Loss, that finder
of all we no longer hold,
Loss, that keeper,
who does not care
how deep we dig,
how thick snow falls,
what freezes, what thaws–
*******************************