Summer Solstice, My First Reading, and a Completed Poem

Tonight we celebrated the longest day of the year with a reading, a steak dinner, great dogs, sharing of writing, and a campfire. I did my first memoir reading with my friend Bev (below) before dinner. We each picked favorite pieces and read on benches before dinner in the pine trees.

The highlight of a delicious steak dinner tonight was watching the two " resident" dogs be so well-behaved as they sat by their masters during meal time..
Later we all gathered in the yurt and shared writing written during the day. My goal was to complete some poetry since that isn't a genre I feel as comfortable writing. I shared the poem below. We then moved to the campfire to round out our last evening with s'mores, conversation, and laughter.

The writing prompt we worked on in the workshop this morning was called "baggage". It centered around those things we hang on to and keep in our lives. After hearing other people's brainstorm lists I combined them into this poem:

Digging For Keys
Faded cottage cheese tubs stuffed with rusty nails,
hooks on the wall overflowing with coats;
a ripped poncho, a manure covered barn coat, a too-small ski parka.
Hanging close are the hats;
hunting orange, hand-me-down tan, John Deere green,
The stained lavender lamp shade lingers in the corner.

Resting on the steps, plastic plant pots, trays, and saucers to catch the drips;
a leaky watering can, one silver slipper, a dead lily discarded after Easter.
nozzles, washers, sprinklers for hoses;
five Mason jars, three canning rings, a crock pot without a lid.

The drawer holds keys to doors that never open, cords to gadgets long thrown away;
Fasteners with a purpose fading from memory and doodads once with a use,
two knights from a chess set, wooden Scrabble tile, one toothpick,
pastel birthday candles, an outdated candy thermometer
resting before the next celebration.

Things of life are saved, arranged, hung, and displayed.
They join soft levis molded to our shape;
colored Avon bottles Aunt Pearl wrote into her will;
birdfeeder presented as a wedding gift;
leaning mailbox with the chipped red flag.

Things remind us of everyday life;
nails to repair the fence, crock pot Sunday soup,
batch of applesauce put up last fall, a marathon Scrabble game.
Digging for keys that frosty, winter night
Doors and windows were locked up tight.


  1. You may not be comfortable writing it, but in my opinion, you do it very well! And you certainly wrote one that we all can relate to. What a wonderful way to celebrate the solstice.

  2. The group helped me with the title tonight. They each liked hearing their own ideas they had shared earlier.

  3. As the title of Richard Wilbur's poems says "Love Calls Us to the Things of this World" or as William Carlos Williams said "No ideas but in things" (from his 1944 poem "A Sort of Song").

    I love the "thingness" of this poem. The things trigger emotion in me and the more this poem is "thingy" the more I get absorbed and enjoy what the things lead me to feel and think about.

    Great work!

  4. Oh! One other thing: Aunt Pearl is perfect: her name is a thing in a poem of things...the poem is lucky that we had an Aunt Pearl in our lives...and even if she wasn't exactly our Aunt (whose sister was she? Paul Baugh's?), it's perfect that in the world of this poem she is the Aunt of the speaker, even if that speaker is no longer you but a character with all these things in her life...that's when poetry works best...stretching documentable truths to make a poem work, telling lies, not being hog-tied by facts.

  5. Just heard the podcast version by RP. Nice! I appreciated hearing it, more than just reading it.


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