Nine of Wands (after Emily Dickinson)

child of my past, you
have not traveled far enough
to forget troubles

that once stood before you—ones
you could not tell from the ones

that had been left be
hind—sometimes to understand
means to leave, and some

times it requires being held
by what you could not keep—you

can never find all
the pieces to the puzzle
at the same time—but

so much remains—release what
is lost–make ways to be found

Sarah at dVerse asked us to have a conversation with a poem we read in the last year that resonated with us. Last week I was listening to some poems being read on Brain Pickings, and one particular Emily Dickinson poem, read by Patti Smith, stayed in my mind. As I listened to it several times, I wrote down the words that jumped out at me, and started to make my own poem with them. I sometimes do this when listening to poetry, and find that the emotional tone influences what I write, even if the subject I write about turns out to be totally different.

Sarah’s prompt made me return to and revise the poem, and I thought it went well with a collage I just finished too, based on the Tarot Nine of Wands. I love all kinds of cards, and the symbolism of Tarot is especially rich for the kinds of imagery I use in my collages. Nine of Wands is a card of resilience.

You can read Emily Dickinson’s poem #600, I Was Once a Child, and hear Patti Smith reading it, at Brain Pickings, here.

30 thoughts on “Nine of Wands (after Emily Dickinson)

  1. I love the fact that you were doing this last week! It was interesting to read the original poem, and then look at yours again. I can see the conections, but this isn’t a pastiche, it’s a real poem that has a splash of Dickinson in its DNA. And dashes, which felt like a playful nod to her as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sarah. That’s what I like about listening to a poem being read–I think you capture an essence that you don’t necessarily get by reading it. Brain Pickings happened to have their yearly poetry reading show available for watching last week, so your prompt worked well in that context.

      Like

  2. I really enjoyed the Dickinson poem and your interpretation: you speak with different voices but the same poetic soul. I love the collage too! I ordered Dickinson’s complete works as a belated Christmas present to myself and am still awaiting delivery.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How odd that we both wrote about lost children. Yes, you are right, we are all the children of our past, still looking for the same things. Some found (of the nine perhaps) and some we have forgotten on the way. I like how your child sounds like the adult of Dickinson’s, still marvelling even with the knowledge and cynicism that comes with getting older.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with Sarah, And you’ve been listening to Brain Pickings too! The opening stanza of your poem resonates deeply with me. Those children of our past are never lost, they sit quietly within us reminding us occasionally of what we were.h Sarah.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This was an excellent piece and an engaging read Kerfe — well written. I reslly love the image you created here as well. Always fascinating! Happy & Healthy New Year to you and yours. Here’s to writing wonderful poetry in 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I listened to a podcast with Alan Lightman last week. He’s a rare beastie as he’s a physicist and storyteller/poet. So interesting to hear him talk about how everything began — as if he were there — and he was, just like we were 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I never got hooked by ED, but your poem excellently echoes the feel of her style. Nice response to the prompt. Your collages are astonishingly good. We should use one, or more of them as a d’Verse prompt some time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the artwork (Nine of Wands is a card of resilience).and the verses (of our history). I listen to Brain Pickings too so I will check on that reading. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. “—you

    can never find all
    the pieces to the puzzle
    at the same time—but

    so much remains—release what
    is lost–make ways to be found”

    The sequence of tankas and this beautiful ending left me speechless.

    Liked by 1 person

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