(221) Written by Herself

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,

DSCN1076 when I entered the Acoma church, when I encountered a

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.


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