Today I am using a poem called “Written by Himself” as a mentor poem. It was in The New York Times Magazine. The poem is written by Gregory Pardio, and uses repetition and allusion. I went with the phrase “I was born…” and took it from there just to see what would show up. You can see the original here.
I was born on a hot night name rooted in legacy. I was born
of chocolate cake and hyacinth, lilac bushes and honey bees.
I was born of a river of rocks, floating little plastic boats, wading
precariously. I was born with pockets full of worms and nickels for
candy bars and bus passes to go wherever I wanted to go.
I was born listening and writing, words words words, always what mattered.
I was born when Meg learned love was the most powerful force in the universe
and Johnny told Ponyboy to stay gold. I gave birth when Sylvia sobbed over the tulips
and Henry David reveled in walking. I was born in a Communion, two Confirmations,
three Shabbats, and a Refuge Ceremony. I was born in the sanctuary of the New River,
drums beating a story that named my place in the family of things. I was a labyrinth
on a hill when I was born, a vision of exactly what I should do with my
one wild and precious life. I was born when the rainbow pierced the sunset,
when the birds wings were all I could hear on that mountaintop,
weather worn tree on a beach at the tip of an island.
I read the sky for signs of solace and freedom.
I walked the wooded path, sucking grapevines, risking rejection
before I was born.