Thursday, June 03, 2021

Poetry Friday -- Ways to Reappear

 
image via Unsplash

Ways to Reappear

In the dawn
Down a path
Through tall pines
Come to
With a grin
In a flash
Down to earth
In a spotlight
In a shadow
Without a plan
Without speaking
On your porch
On your threshold
In the garden
In the pool
In a library
In the corner
In the background
Come out
On a limb
At a moment's notice
In envelopes
In secret
Without words
Without a doubt
Seeking identity
Through dense fog
Down this path
In the dawn


©Mary Lee Hahn, 2021 
after Ways to Disappear by Camille Rankine


"Ways to Disappear" was the Poem a Day from Poets.org on Wednesday, June 2. Camille Rankine writes about her poem: “There are so many ways a person can become not a person in someone else’s eyes. They can be erased through violence of gaze or word or action, by the individual, by the media, by the state, so that their humanity dissolves into nothing in the other’s view, and they vanish. In plain sight, and not there at all.”

Big truth in these times, in this country.

I began to think of possible ways for a person to reappear. If we can erase a person, surely we can also work against that erasure, really see those around us, and make sure they know they've been seen.

The poem is also about losing one identity and reappearing with a new identity. 

Process notes: I found the photo on Unsplash after I wrote the poem. It was a little eerie how well the image matched my words. 

I borrowed the first word in every line from Rankine's poem. Lots of times I used the first two words. To give the poem a more optimistic feel, I changed "gone" to "come." The lines are specific and personal but at the same time broad and general. As in Rankine's poem, the lines sometimes seem connected, but mostly can stand alone. The word "seeking" stood out to me as a turning point, and from there I diverged from Rankine's poem, reversing the pattern of the first three lines, and ending where the poem started.


Margaret has this week's Poetry Friday roundup at Reflections on the Teche. Watch for the signup for July-December roundups next week! Yikes! 



19 comments:

  1. When I read Rankine's poem I had the same thought of doing a similar poem structure, in conversation. You did this beautifully. I love "Come to" and "Come out" (in light of Pride Month and my niece's brave coming out on social media.) I feel I could take each line as a prompt for more.

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  2. I love the structure of the Rankine poem. And your like the thinking of how to make people reappear. The photo is stunning and fits the poem perfectly.

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  3. I just watched a news item about a new art show by high school students reflecting on their year, showing what was meaningful to them. Then I read your poem, Mary Lee, in opposition to Rankine's words, and it felt so wonderful to think of those students "reappearing". What a long year for them. It's beautifully & thoughtfully done.

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  4. Mary Lee, I can imagine this poem read in one swoop, similar to some actors' ability to take one long thought and not breathe in between. Your poem rich in thought did this for me and I was amazed but then you topped it all off with your precise and thoughtful author's notes on process.

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  5. I love your reinvention of Rankine's poem, Mary Lee. It's like the photo was waiting for your poem to be written. :)

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  6. This poem is beautiful reminder of the importance of really seeing the people around us.

    I loved getting a glimpse of your creative process as you engaged with the structure of the original poem.

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  7. What a wonderful response to the poem, and such a positive one. Bravo!

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  8. Mary Lee,
    I had read Rankine's poem earlier this week, as well. It was sad, but your reappearing poem has made me read it again with fresh eyes. Your idea of people reappearing or reestablishing themselves is so refreshing and whole.

    These words empower:
    "In the corner
    In the background
    Come out
    On a limb"

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  9. I like the vulnerability and boldness of these lines,
    "Come out
    On a limb"
    and your circular closing. Two powerful poems, in fitting voices–great pic too, thanks Mary Lee

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  10. Such an intriguing poem, Mary Lee. And thank you also for sharing your process. I love to learn how poets are inspired, especially by other works.

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  11. An important poem, Mary Lee, as so many feel they've been disappeared and we all have probably felt that way, in some way, one time or another, as children or adults. To think about ways to reappear, or be included, is something to consider deeply. Great post.

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  12. I like the way you explained your entry into this poem, Mary Lee.
    The mysterious of these lines appealed to me:

    In envelopes
    In secret
    Without words

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  13. I love your reimagining of Rankine's poem and the possibilities it suggests. Thank you for putting your insights "in a spotlight." You've given me a lot to think about this morning.

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  14. I love this take on Rankine's poem. I have several friends that have retired this year. I like thinking of them as now having the ability to reappear in life to some of the living they have enjoyed in the summers and on weekends. People can reappear. Life wants to live. This is what I'm finding in your poem today.

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    Replies
    1. You are correct to read this as a poem for a retired person reappearing as a different person! :-)

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  15. Perfect pairing of poem + image. Love how you transformed disappear into reappear. So positive and life affirming!

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  16. I read her poem this week, and I love that you wrote a response! So good.

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  17. Thanks for introducing me to Rankine's poem, Mary Lee. There really is "big truth" in it. Your response is moving and uplifting. I was surprised to learn you found the photo after writing the poem. The two work together beautifully!

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  18. I like this idea so much and also that you have time to talk us through your process. I thought it would simply be about your ability to resurface and reappear after a long hard year in a new form, but it's more. I might have to try my own.

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