Tuesday, November 25, 2008

One Single Impression -- Childhood Memories

Some how I confused the prompt for September 21, with the prompt for November 23...and put my energy into writing a haiku for "Autumn." Then got distracted with preparing for a colonoscopy on Monday -- the test itself is nothing at all, but the preparation -- UGH!!! Nuff said. So I'm going to do two off beat things instead of write a new poem at this point in the week.

In the summer of 1965 I was 14 and visiting my grandfather in tidewater Virginia; my 16 year old cousin Lucy introduced me to the idea that any one could write poetry. I loved poetry, read tons of it, memorized my favorites. But it had never occurred to me that any one, even 14 year old girls, could write poetry.

I immediately sat down and over the next few days wrote two poems. Here they are my first poems from 1965:

Alone, all alone I sit by the sea,
Alone yet not lonely, here by the sea.
The wind sweeps by tousling my hair
It whips the waves, splashes the sea lions lair,
Then all is still, nothing stirs
Till behind from a tree a locust whirs,
For I am alone down by the sea.


Remember those sweet days that have passed away,
The grasses of soft green in the wind would sway,
The trees by the river, those old weeping willows,
Children swinging in hammocks or old men with pillows.
Long summer days of childish laughter,
Days to remember long every after.

Recently in an e-mail I reminded Lucy of how she introduced me to poetry a quarter of a century ago, and she replied with the following poem, that came to her as a result of my e-mail. Here is Lucy Bickley's poem about childhood memories -- because I remember it exactly this way!

Where Is Youth?

I remember Grandad's swing that creaked and groaned
As we swung up to the roof of the porch
Chatting and eating penny candy we bought
Out of the bins at the corner store.

Watermelon at the well, fresh from the field
throwing off seeds, sprinkling on salt
laughing, enjoying, gorged to the point
We could eat no more.

Sunshine, barefeet, cantaloupe, Tomato, fresh milk,
Eggs and toast, breakfast at the cottage
While waves lapped at the shore,
No first meal was ever so great.

Swing on the rope swing, the seat worn from weather and wear.
Swinging high up in the clouds when I closed my eyes
And dreamed eternal dreams until Mom called
"Come on or we'll be late".

Standing tall in the back of the truck
To see over the cab and wave at who was passing.
Dust rising from the back wheels as we bounced over the
Dirt roads on our way to there.

I can't help but want to go back over the dusty roads
Through the years to find the timeless
Innocent dreams we once had
When we had youth to spare.



Beth P. said...

oh, Sue--
That all was precious! I especially liked your 14 year old poems...can just feel how sensitive and tentative and lovely you were (are)...

Thank you!!

Jim said...

Sue, I really do like those first two poems you wrote. We can all be thankful to Lucy who got you started.
I had to read your first poem several times. Living in the country I did not have a lot of childhood friends and would often be alone down at the creek, out in the grove, or sitting amongst the cornstalks. You took me to those places and times again.
Thank you.

me ann my camera said...

"Remember those sweet days that have passed away", this, your line is so full of nostalgia, it contains it all for me. And Lucy's mention of standing in the back of the truck relaxes my back with the remembered warmth of the sun and the brown softness between my toes while we sat on the tailgate dragging our toes in the soft silt of the earth. I love it all, that you and Lucy wrote.

anthonynorth said...

They were great. I was very late to both writing and poetry - writing in my late 20s, and poetry didn't flow until my early 50s.
I'm trying to catch up :-)
I've a long way to go.

SandyCarlson said...

I'd love to go back over those dusty roads, too. Thanks for sharing your early pieces. the solitude in them touched me deeply. I remember having that kind of childhood, too.

Ackworth born said...

some very good connections here.

Deborah Godin said...

Wonderful! Thank you for sharing this poetic "conversation" and how neat that you still have it.

Greyscale Territory said...

Love how the poems are like a sharing dialogue!

Just beautiful!

Pam said...

Wonderful set of poems full of memories. I really connected with the first having grown up by the Pacific.