I’m using daily prompts associated with Inktober (artists doing ink drawings) to spur poetry this month. The poems flow from the prompts, though it may not be obvious (at all); and sometimes the poems are revisions of earlier poems that came to mind when I mulled the prompt. If there’s a photo in the post, it was chosen after the poem was written. I’m “showing my work” by offering some of the words, phrases, associations that came to me for each prompt. The poems may or may not have anything to do with gardens, gardening, or “nature” as it’s commonly considered. To see all the poems (once they’re written), check the Inktober landing page.
* * * * *
Today’s prompt: LEGEND
Some associations: a story coming down from the past, popular myth, inscription, caption, explanatory list of map symbols, legend in his own mind, stuff of legends, saga, living legend, urban legend, legendary, fable, folklore, myth, hero, icon, idol, miracle, grail, epic, fabulous, Robin Hood
* * * * *
The name was silly, Ledge N’ Dairy Acres, get it?,
but the house and land were dreamy. Dreamy as in
I dream about the place all the time, though I last
lived there seventeen years ago. I can smell it now,
the specific wood fragrance that met me fresh
when I returned after a week, like a lover’s perfume,
our biochemical reunion. It wasn’t musty
as wood can be but savory, creamy, earthy,
sensual, authentic and a little exotic,
in spite of being built with the land’s own trees,
and Maine is not usually considered exotic.
Transiting like a home planet from the past, they come,
all unbidden, unfixed to now:
carved wooden rooms with heavy beams,
the long book-filled loft,
towering ceilings straight out of fairy tales,
dying my hair brown again in the cramped bathroom,
finding a garden spider in the kitchen sink
most days, staring numbly at the TV
that September morning, Thanksgivings
in front of the massive stone fireplace,
an ATV crashing into the front ditch, and the broken leg,
the dogs leaping gamely through snow, the epic ice storm,
the week-long loss of power whose end left me teary
in the bedroom closet, tugging a light switch
that miraculously worked
and in that strange way that sleep has,
dreams, those oracles, infuse my once memories there,
entirely conjured, you could say fabulous,
for instance the time I visited the house, owned by another,
another absent lover, and snuck inside at night,
watched passing vehicles through dark glass before I fled
out the back door, ran around the almost familiar yard,
raced up the dirt driveway with purpose.
The time I dug a vegetable garden, harvesting
pieces of 45 rpm records from the soil.
(No, that actually happened.)
The time porcupines, mumbling, watched as I made jam from wax.
The time I returned to find the rooms shuffled, shifted.
The time I returned to find the house for sale.
The time I stood to breathe it in, its essence, safe house
that came without a lock, without a key, no legend at all
for this mapped belonging, wide open and waiting,
every intimate inch still marked, still mine.
* * * * *