Monday, June 10, 2013

Door in the Mountain

Jean Valentine
Gail Larrick
I've started participating in a virtual writing group with some friends.  Each week we'll write a poem off of a prompt that one of us creates.  Then, when we finish our poem, we post it to our blogs.  This week, we wrote off of Jean Valentine's poem "Door in the Mountain".  It's a haunting poem.  The day I got the prompt was the birthday of my friend Gail Larrick, who died this winter.  Gail always reminded me of Jean with her quiet wisdom.  So, I couldn't help but write about her off of the prompt.  Below is Jean Valentine's poem and then my draft.
Door in the Mountain

Never ran this hard through the valley
never ate so many stars

I was carrying a dead deer
tied on to my neck and shoulders

deer legs hanging in front of me
heavy on my chest

People are not wanting
to let me in

Door in the mountain
let me in

-- Jean Valentine
Door in the Mountain
for Gail Larrick
Never saw the seams in the earth until
night washed us clean.  I was carrying your
memory on my back like a dead deer

up the slope when you whispered enough      shed
the dumb weight of grief  
And looked up to find
stars spinning talcum soft and under foot
overgrown path up the shadowed mountain.

Heavy foot after the other until
what emerges from the dark is this:
tang of apple on tongue, rustle of wings
or hooves or haunches from coyote bush,
then quiet that opens like a wide lake.
And the door opened.
And I let you go. 

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