When I was 20, ten years ago now, I wrote a poem. It was part of an assignment for a poetry composition class I was taking at Queen's, and it kicked off a little jag of poetry writing that I went through in my early 20s.

Looking back, I think the poem says a lot about what the decade was going to be like for me. It's so very juvenile, so rhyming and earnest. So... heartbreaking in a way.

Ten years ago, I was just out of my first significant relationship and I was having a hard time. The whole decade was hard, in one way or another. Not that a ten year period really means anything. I know that such divisions of time are arbitrary. Nonetheless, ten years feels significant. Nice and round and solid. It feels good to put it behind me.
cc. image of Tierra Del Fuego by Villie Miettinen from Flickr
For Nathan and I, 2011 came in with a whisper. We spent New Year's Even in a small cottage in the Bahamas. I was alseep by 10:30 p.m. I made no resolutions. It was the best start to a new year I think I've ever experienced. A good omen.

That said, I think it's always worthwhile to look back. To constantly drive forward, with no examination of where you've already been, seems like a waste..

With that in mind, I'm going to share my little poem. It was inspired by a novel I read as a young teen - Paula Fox's A Place Apart. (If you haven't read any Fox, you should. 
Here's a good article about her.) I remember, at 13, being so caught up by a moment in A Place Apart that I held my breath. For minutes. I held it until my heart heart, without even realizing what I was doing. And it was that memory, I think, that made me write this poem

Be kind, blog friends. I know it's bad. I can see my many errors. It was a first effort. And remember, I was still practically a baby.

tierra del fuego

sheets lifted above our heads as we lie in bed
and consider the morning

you’re wondering what i’m doing

 i’m offering you a dream with my bare feet and
our cold sheets,
warm now, with you and i inside them

this is our house on Tierra del Fuego
where we live, all alone, you and i
high, high in the mountains
away from everyone

this is our house on Tierra del Fuego
where we have a bedroom painted in gold
to catch the light of the bold afternoon sun
an encompassing auburn
brought to life by our walls

this is our house on Tierra del Fuego
where we grow vegetables and have enclosed
a small cow named Daisy
who gives us milk

we have given up meat, which is easier here
remember, before?
that time that we tried, but weren’t satisfied?
and didn’t succeed
and you, especially were filled with the need
for the taste of blood in your mouth?

this is our house on Tierra del Fuego
where we want for nothing
because together we make somethingwholly satisfying

much later
thinking about those sheets on our bed, back in place now,
i read a little about Tierra del Fuego

the island is cold
and the Patagonian Andes are, i’m told, harsh
and unwelcoming

Tierra del Fuego is an island that’s vulnerable,
exposed to the competing winds of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans,
bringing nearly constant rainstorms

we had a house on Tierra del Fuego
but i’m renting it out
because i can’t take the rain anymore, or your snore, or the cold
that even the gold of our bedroom isn’t warming
and the Yagans of old have left Fireland
and the tourists are coming

this was our house on Tierra del Fuego
i’ve opened the pen
and let Daisy go
and if there’s only one thing i want you to know
it’s that Tierra del Fuego’s a lie
it was always remote

and too difficult for us
so i’m saying goodbye

on the Isle of Fire, Tierra del Fuego
the winds can blow a house down
but just so you know, i’m not waiting around
i’m burning our house to the ground



02/01/2011 06:41

I do not think that this is bad. It is meaningful.

I do not say this to appease. If that were my goal, I would simply refrain from commenting.


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