Friday, November 16, 2007

Poetry Friday: Inked (on memorizing Gerard Manley Hopkins)

I wake up and pretend
it's between my shoulder
blades. I get out of bed:
Shook foil

I walk the dog and plot
how it gets stamped
on my ankle bone:

I reach for a high-heeled
shoe and it flares
across the small
of my back:

I want to flaunt it,
roll up my sleeves
in winter. Oh my
god! There,
on her bicep!

If you shaved off my hair,
it would be on my skull,
curved like cornrows:
Deep down things

I run after what’s
blown from my hand.
The poem lifts
with my hamstrings:
Brown brink eastward springs

It splays on my chest
like Eve's claws:

A microdot of information,
it could be mistaken
for a mole:

Did it hurt?
Nah, I lie.
I turn my forearm up.
A word has appeared:
I don't even know what that is.

I look again.
The word
has changed. I bend
my wrist in the light:

I want a tattoo of wings.
Are you sure?

Here at the base of my throat:
Bright wings

----Sara Lewis Holmes (all rights reserved)

See here for a copy of the Gerard Manley Hopkins poem and my first post about memorizing it.

If you'd like
to hear me read this poem, here's a link to Dropbox.

Poetry Friday is hosted by Big A, little a


  1. This is lovely. I went back and listened again. You picked the perfect poem to memorize. I too have memory issues, and am not convinced I could do. Bravo to you!

  2. Really remarkable, not only the poem but also the rough notes and the work in progress account. Thank you for that, it was extraordinary to read and no doubt quite a difficult decision on whether to post them or not. But I'm so glad you did. What is remarkable is how complete they are; rough it may be, but the poem seems almost there in the initial rush of thought. And 'Cantilever' - a very strange one. A glimpse there of the tricks the creative mind must play without us knowing. To pluck out a word you supposedly don't know, but which relates to wings and also to the physical action... Strange indeed!

    But back to the poem. A worthy companion to the original. Fantastic.

  3. Wow you are amazing. Putting that poem all over your body; that's the way to do it right!

  4. I love the bright wings at the base of your throat! And cantilever is a good word. You have taken this poem into your entire body. Very cool.

  5. Oh my gosh. I love love love this. Embodying poetry in the most literal sense...

  6. This is phenomenal, Sara. Not only your poem, but your documentation of it. Loved hearing you read it. In your notes, I couldn't see your freewrite...all I could see were little cartwheeling people icons. Some different font that didn't translate, I guess. But I could read the rest of your notes, and it was really neat to follow along your process. Thanks!

    My fav part: the shaving of skull and finding the words there like cornrows!

  7. Thanks for letting me know about that glitch, Laura. I checked and for some reason, the font for the rough draft was a less common one, while the notes were in Times New Roman. I've put it all in Times New Roman and re-uploaded it. Maybe I should go with a PDF file, instead?

    Thanks, everyone, for commenting. I love sharing with you guys.

  8. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing your process. It's so interesting to find out how people create their work. Wow!

  9. I would like to have more memorized poems in my head. This will be added to the evergrowing list of "things to do after my portfolio is sent to national boards in March". A second grade teacher showed me The Arrival. I must get it.


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