by T. A. Fry
Someone carelessly forgot,
To secure their lime-green Port-A-Pot.
Splattering its’ stinking, filthy load,
Nasty obstacles in my road.
If you’re hauling ’round aging shit;
Check ties twice, then dispose of it.
This year is the sixth edition of Tom’s Favorite Poems. I hand made and gave away as gifts a new personal best, with 15 copies distributed. Unlike past years, where many of the favorites came from the poem log I keep, this year all of my creative energy regarding poetry was poured into Fourteenlines. So when it came time to pull together my best of it largely consisted of rereading this year’s posts and taking my favorites that lent themselves to a little book of poetry. There are 33 poems contained within, three of my own and 30 of others writing. Not surprisingly, there are ten sonnets included. There is a poem by both W. S. Merwin and Mary Oliver, who passed away this year. Over all it is a very pleasing little anthology. If you asked me what are my top five poems from 2019, my answer would vary depending on my mood that day, but if I am forced to pick five this morning, here they are:
- Janus – By John M. Ford
- Walking Away by Cecil Day-Lewis
- Now by Robert Browning
- It’s The Dream by Olav Hauge
- Bring Your Love To Me Undarned by T. A. Fry
I know its a rigged jury system to include one of my own poems in my top five for the year, but I never said this was an impartial list. I always look back at my writing productivity over the course of the year and give myself a grade. This year I give myself a B. I spent my writing time in different ways this year, most of it focused on this blog. The second area of focus was on editing two chap books that I have been working on for the better part of six years, and I spent the least amount of time on writing new poems. If I total up the year’s new compositions there are 7 or 8 good sonnets, another 6 or 7 reasonable rhyming poems and 2 or 3 free verse poems for the year. My total output is better than one a month but a far cry from recent years. But if I can write one great poem a year, I am happy.
Of the three poems of my own included in this year’s anthology, each represents a different method of creativity in my writing process. The poem Port-O-Pot wrote itself on the way to work last February, when waiting at a stop light merging on to a highway, a truck with a trailer loaded with six Port-o-Pots, situated about five vehicles in front of me, went around a bend in the round while accelerating from the stop light and hit a bump, ejecting one off the side in the back. It broke into a few pieces and then was demolished by a utility truck that couldn’t get out of the way in time. There was a small delay and then those of us that needed to get to work, wound our way carefully through the carnage of plastic and filth, hoping that the car wash was going to be open when we got off work. The poem was all done in my head by the time I got to my office 10 minutes later.
The sonnet Easter, I included on Fourteenlines and it is on the last page of this year’s little book. It is an example of writing with intention and letting the hard work of writing become a time capsule for a memory that will forever transport me back to that day. It took me several days to have a good draft. Then after probably 25 to 30 more revisions, reading and rereading and revising, it came to be the finished sonnet. The poem is an eternal connection to all the dear people I shared the experience of communion with that day.
The third and final poem of my own that I included I have not shared until this post on Fourteenlines. It is far and away the best poem I wrote this year. It is an example of grinding, writing down ideas, letting them sit and and then revising, rewriting and editing. It is an example of not giving up. Sometimes writing is not inspiration, it is hard work. The title and opening line I wrote as part of a longer poem back in January and I kept coming back to it and rewriting it. Finally after many drafts and failed attempts that I was unsatisfied with, I decided to start over and took the line, Bring your love to me undarned, from out of the body of the poem and made it the opening line, deleting the rest and started over. A fresh start after 9 months freed up my subconscious and then the poem came together over the course of a week of new writing. It is one of the few poems I have ever written that the finished poem is almost perfect iambic pentameter, so when you read it, follow my rule for poetry and read it out loud and let your brain, mouth, vocal cords and tongue all experience the poem. You will know it differently read aloud then reading it silently. We have a different spoken voice that we hear then we do our silent voice inside our heads.
If you wrote a poem in 2019, that fits the style and length of this blog, rhymed or unrhymed, that you would like to share on Fourteenlines, please contact me at Fourteenlines10@gmail.com and I would be thrilled to work with you to guest blog an entry in 2020.
Bring Your Love To Me Undarned
by T. A. Fry
Bring your love to me undarned,
Moth holes and worn heels
Ragged in its country charm
Where your love has kneeled.
Kneeled before the grace of God
Kneeled to wash their feet –
All the creatures you have loved
And some you’ve yet to meet.
I’ll darn it with a silken string
And mend it with some yarn,
And knit back all you bring
To me, in your loving arms.