Rewriting Poetry

As an angsty teen, I wrote a lot of dark, broken-heart poetry. As I flip through pages of old journals, review old Word documents that are buried years deep in my hard drive, and even peek at that blog I started years ago when I thought my poetry was great; I realize that poetry is a reflection of the times.

I spent some time last year rewriting some of my poetry from when I was younger. I changed words, lengthened stanzas, reorganized structure: but I never got rid of the original. Instead, I put them side by side: a child’s love poem vs the adult version of that very same poem. I’ve decided to share one here in the hopes that it encourages some of you to reflect on some of the poetry you wrote back in the the day, you know naive ones that makes you cringe.

 

Choices (1st Edition)

We waken, only to remember the faded wisps of the evening’s dreams.
By the time our feet touch floor and hair drips from the shower and the sun
intrudes into our bedroom we are charging towards the black, blankness
of midnight where we may fall in love with freedom; only to reawaken into
the nightmare our union has become.

We have romanticized our ability to trick, cheat and be ourselves
into proper love; a word where we mask our resentment of time
in the simple duties of marriage:

-Dishes
-Laundry
-Mowing the lawn
-Sweeping the stairs

Eventually, the dishes pile up because the meeting went late.
The laundry remains in your basket because I can’t stand the smell of her perfume.
We hire a landscaper because business trips call us away on the weekends.
And when we don’t return home to climb the stairs, who really cares if we don’t sweep them?

 

Choices (2nd edition)

I waken to harsh
white light
forcing its ways into the bedroom.
You blink
to the sound of birds
screaming from your post on the couch.
For a moment,
we ignore the sun,
hanging on to the faded wisps of the evening’s dreams.
By the time our feet touch floor and hair drips from the shower
we are charging towards the black, blankness of midnight
where we may fall in love with freedom;
only to reawaken into the nightmare our union has become.

We have romanticized our ability to fake proper love.
Our world has become a place
where we mask our resentment of these new selves
in the simple duties of marriage:

-Dishes
-Laundry
-Cleaning the bathroom
-Mowing the lawn
-Sweeping the stairs

Eventually, the dishes pile up because the meeting went late.
The laundry remains in your basket because I can’t stand the smell of her perfume.
Your sink is dusted with chin hairs because I’ve escaped to the spare bathroom.
We hire a landscaper because business trips call us away on the weekends.
And when we don’t return home to climb the stairs, who really cares if we don’t sweep them?

 

Reflection

This was oddly challenging, emotional, and fun. I encourage anyone who has written poetry to try this. Dig down and find that angst filled Tuesday in high school, when your crush decided to date someone else; unfurl that crumpled piece of paper with your tear stained words on it, and try again. It’s a very real way to see how far you have come as a writer, and as a person.

I have discovered two things: my vocabulary was severely limited when I was younger and I had the very cliched emotional range of a teaspoon. Our skill in writing grabs the reader, but first our experiences must grab us.

 

Assignment!

Share you re-writes with us! Send us your original and re-worked version to EditorInkSmithPublishing@gmail.com.

 

 

About Corinne

CA Bio ImageCorinne has her MFA in Writing from Lindenwood University and her MPS in Publishing from George Washington University. She has been an editor at Ink Smith Publishing and Native Ink Press since 2013, taking over the company in 2019. Since her first trip to the library when she was a toddler, Corinne has been collecting books, recommending her favorites, and providing commentary on the less-than-stellar. Her belief is that if you have a problem, it’s nothing that a good book can’t solve.

 

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