april

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.

 

National Poetry Month: Shel Silverstein

When I was in the third grade, my teacher, Mrs. Froriep, was insistent upon our class reading and writing in tandem. It was not enough to read the words and enjoy them in the way authors organized them, but also to use our imaginations and create our own writings, and to respond to the books we were reading. I attribute a lot of my joy in writing to this woman. But I also attribute that joy to the authors and books that she connected me to as well.

As I get older and engage with different books and writing styles I always look back on those times in her class when she would pull books out for us to read together. It was always followed by those quiet moments of reflection and digestion of the content we were currently ingesting. One of the first poetry books she introduced me to was Shel Silverstein, Falling Up. In honor of Poetry Month Ink Smith has decided to dedicate today to this childhood author. His work has, and continues to, grace the bookshelves of countless classrooms across the nation inspiring children to both read, and perhaps, to write.

 

“There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.”
Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein

 

What was your favorite Shel Silverstein piece? Share in the comments!

 

About Corinne

CA Bio Image

Corinne 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.

Young Warrior by Grant Elliot Smith

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Sections of time melting away,

Tearless eyes seeming to say

I cannot be hurt, I will not bleed

Although the truth is easy to read

Once a fierce warrior, now fallen

The only rule to battle, not all can win

His mighty sword, broken and lost

Once he possessed a heart of fire, now frost

Broken will, shattered dreams

All is lost, so it seems

On the darkest of nights, hallowest of eves,

Visitors seek the warrior rustling the leaves

The warrior stands up unwilling to fight

Outside stand three warriors in the misty night

One calls his name but he shows no fear

“If you are expecting a challenge, you will not find it here,

I am not the warrior I was in the past,

My courage and strength, for long, did not last”

One calls to him, “if your spirit is lost you will surely die”

The three warriors look fierce, unbeatable to his eye

Fear and envy rage, he wishes he could be more like them

Beaten before starting, this night, to him, looks grim

A wolf cries in the distance, the wind wildly shrieks

To him, he is sure it is death now he greets

Raising his guard, lowering his head, he steps out

The night is cold against his skin, he starts the bout

His quickness is slow, but he knocks one to the ground

He follows him down and snaps his neck with a cracking sound

With swords not yet drawn, the other two attack with might

Blows exchange blows, these warriors are too strong to fight

The last two warriors he will kill, this in his mind he sets

Beaten badly he still stands, the sword of the dead warrior he gets

The warriors pull their swords and engage him

Their skill is great, he will need more strength to win

He summons all his strength, the fire inside burns bright

He strikes one to the chest, only one more to fight

The one left is the strongest of all three

His skills and strength are great, damn, I wish I were he

Blood spills on both sides, but no one gives in

Both giving their best, for only one will win

Blade meets blade, as iron meets stone

The night turns red, as the final blow is thrown

The last warrior falls, losing this fight

The once fallen warrior’s spirit is rekindled this night

Battle beaten and tired he sits down in the grass

Now he has regained his self, this time it will last

He sees with his eyes the three dead warriors start to rise

He stands quickly, what black magic has kept them from their demise?

Healed, without wounds, the three walk closer to him

He pulls his sword, stands his ground, fear spreads within

He beat them once, he feels that he will beat them again

The three dead warrior, swords sheathed, they too know he would win

They stand before him, they speak his name once more

“We are ancient warriors of an ancient Lore,

We died in battle long ago, our fires bright until the end

Your fire would have died before its time, it, we had to mend”

He asked the three, “why my fire to mend from beyond the grave?”

“Young warrior” one replied, “it is our family honor we save,

For I am your grandfather’s grandfather, young warrior you see,

This is my grandfather’s grandfather, and so on is he”

He sees the oldest ancestor was the strongest of all three

Twelve generations back his family was strong indeed

The young warrior descends to his knees in respect of ancestors of his

“Great now is your strength young warrior, greater than ours, it is

We leave this earth once more, keep our family strong

It is your responsibility now, bear us no wrong

You will too leave this earth one day, honor you will earn

If another member falters, to this earth you will return”

He watches as his ancestors disappear into the mist, out of sight

The young warrior lays back to gaze at the stars, again alone with the night

 

 

About Grant Elliot Smith

Grant Smith 2Originally from Pendleton, Indiana, Grant loved to read from an early age. Saving up his allowance, he spent it all at the local bookstore buying up as much as he could from the fantasy section. Writing has always been a passion of his. His first interest was poetry, which he wrote voraciously. Some of his early work from as far back as the 1980’s can be found in various poetry anthologies.

Completing four university degrees, including a Masters in Sociology from the University of Essex in Colchester, England, Grant has lived and worked around the world, spending a number of those years in Japan. The sights and sounds from the various cultures he has seen help to fuel his imagination for writing. A corporate attorney by trade, Grant has published various legal articles and papers. However, when not working, he loves to escape in the world of fantasy and the paranormal.

Visit Grant at his website www.grantelliotsmith.com!