Thursday, February 11, 2021

AT LAST! A New Poem

It's been a long dry writing spell ... it's been 2020!  A year reviled, but only distinct in that is seems to have been like poetry - everything distilled into one highly charged season of the unbelievable. 

In the middle of this, my Mom passed. She was 89, and my life with her for the past 7 years had involved a daily consciousness of twilight, and acknowledging the third lurking member of our household - death. I realized my writing had, in so many ways, become about death, and the yearning to let go and move on. 

When the time came, I didn't want to write at all. I wrote a story about the incredible moment of  Mom's passing, and one other story, and that was it.  I did not want to write about death anymore, or about moving on. I just wanted to do it. Ten months later, it's still not that easy. But my pen is ready, and words have been flowing through me. It's time.

The first poem out of the chute has many imperfections, but it is notable for being the first one out after so long a period. I can't help but treasure it just for that. ~ jdc


"What is it?"

by Judith Cullen © 2021




Whatever it is,

wakes you at 3am,

the shape-note-word

that taps, taps, taps

on a conscious mind

struggling, blurred.


It is still there

merging into traffic,

the hue-key-phrase

a looming presence

on the shoulder of

the morning blaze.


It perches on the rim of

your second cup of coffee

a texture-rhythm-meter,

unwilling to leave

till it's a fully realized,

blossoming feature.




Some call it compulsion.


The cracked, an obsession.


That is not where it starts,


when your palm tingles


fingertips eager to mold


brushes beckoning


measured steps waiting


arpeggios and scales


climax and dénouement

bits, bobs, parts, pieces


mixed with words, a-whirl


stories hungry to be told and


paths pulsing with discovery.





It has to be love,

empowering that

certain color and motion

to be foaming ocean,

cloudless sky, or

something only implied.


It can only be love,

that adds this pitch

to that, to this rise,

and an aria flies

on once blanched pages

and a few lines.


It begins with love

wading through word,

and thought, and tome

to stitch together the

delicate, powerful

essence of a poem.


Craft, method, skill . . .

Vision, technique, will . . .

interpretation and experience

all queue and form, yet

it still requires love

for a creative spark to be born.

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