Monday, October 31, 2011

a First Draft says it's not quite ready to come out yet

Yesterday I wrote the first draft of the poem I spoke of the day before yesterday. The poem came easily enough once I had a quiet time to begin writing. It felt good to get the words down. The problem is, I'm not quite ready for it yet, and it's not ready for being released to the public yet.

These things happen sometimes. I think the fact the poem is about something so personal, that also relates to other people I love, means I have to be more careful with my words than usual. Getting this wrong feels like it could hurt other people, and maybe hurt me too.

So, it may happen soon, or it might only be a thing between me and the words of the poem. Whatever happens, the writing of this poem feels like it's helping me.

Writing about a loved one who is now dead seems like a normal part of my grieving process. I wrote a sonnet that I read at my father's funeral a year ago. The sonnet helped me say what I wanted to say, and I was glad to be able to give a copy of it to my mother.

The poem I'm working on now is not in any formal poetic style, but it still conveys much of what I'm feeling inside about my father. It's all a little difficult because the Dad I knew and loved has been gone for much longer than the year since his body died. Dementia took Dad away slowly but with a cruel steadiness. His mind slowly left us and we struggled to find hints he was still there.

I'm afraid to say I had difficulty in seeing Dad in the vacant face that looked unseeingly at me when I visited. He was gone, and I could only wish it wasn't so. I hope this never happens to me, or to anyone else I know and love. Dementia would have to be one of the cruellest things there is.

Writing these words is a conversation happening in my mind, and on the page. I do some of my best thinking when my mind is in charge of my fingers, keying in the words. If I didn't do this, I don't think I could stay OK.

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