The Inkwell-March 2013

As the month of March arrives, poets everywhere and in every age have begun their ancient hymns to spring.  Some of the oldest poems we have surviving in the English language are, not surprisingly, poems celebrating the hope intimated in the coming of spring.  Our submission this month carries on this venerable tradition in a fresh and vibrant way.  “Spring” by Jill Hult uses a barrage of images and metaphors to explore the kaleidoscope of life, memories, and experiences that are for her the sound and rhythm of spring’s insistent call to her senses.  Hult uses the refrain “Spring is beckoning” to punctuate series of tight, well-wrought vignettes of spring: the warmth of sunshine and the cool tickle of grass, the coming spring flowers, bees, and summer fruit, the falling rain and subsequent memories of childhood mudpies, the mighty oak bridging the decades of springs past and future, and finally the ebb and flow of streams, spring breezes, and the very breathing of life itself.  Hult’s masterful use of repetition, imagery, and the association of metaphors creates the expectant feeling that is at the very heart of the spring poem and the expresses the lively hope for new life that is the very heart of what it is to be human.

Spring

Oh dare I say

Sweet sunshine,

I felt your warmth

Soak my face

Spring is beckoning

Cool earth and

Redolent grass

Tickle my toes

I am alive!

Youthful as a

Lily

Nectar for bees and

Juicy peach

Water in my mouth

Spring is beckoning

The rain fell for

Mud pies with

Honeysuckle topping

I am reminiscent

Branching as a

Live oak

Lifting to the sky

Rooted in ground

Spring is beckoning

Rivers babble lowering

Winter swells and

Dogs pant

I respire

A tepid air

Spring is beckoning

———- Jill Hult

—Writer’s Idea:  In your next work, sprinkle your poem with vivid language. For instance,  Hult uses uncommon words to introduce new and unfamiliar sounds that work with the tones of the poem and, at the same time, pack multiple meanings into a single well-placed word.  Instead of the common word “fragrant”, Hult uses “redolent”, which has an added layer of meaning related to an object that brings up or suggests a memory or a thought.  Instead of the word “breathe”, she uses the word “respire”, which colors the action of breathing.  Instead of “warm”, she uses “tepid”, which also implies something that is unsure, timid, gentle.

—Writer’s Tip:  A poem’s structure is often a powerful, though subtle, support to the poem’s meaning.  For example, notice that Hult repeats the line “Spring is beckoning” and that repetition is like a beckoning, inviting the poet again and again in an insistent way.  Also notice how she often cuts lines off and finishes their meaning in the next line, which mimics the expectation of something coming that is not yet here.  The reader’s eye must move forward down the poem to complete the thought or image, just like the poet is looking forward to the coming spring.  Try some of these techniques in your own writing to accentuate the meaning or action of the poem at the level of the actual words, lines, stanzas.

—WE ARE LOOKING FOR LOCAL POETRY.  WE NEED YOUR POEMS!!  Please send your original submissions to InkwellVernonia@gmail.com or by mail:  PO Box 333 Vernonia, OR 97064. Please include your name and contact information.

Write–Express–Expand.

Chris Sedlmeyer holds an M.A. in English, specializing in archetypal criticism and medieval spirituality.  He has written for the American Benedictine Review and currently writes a weekly blog on Carmelite spirituality and discernment  for the American Province of the Order of Carmelites of the Ancient Observance.