Tuesday, April 13, 2010
April 2006 Who? Me?! (Four Years Later)
Here's what I posted four years ago this month:
I almost deleted the message on the answering machine as I didn't recognize the caller's name at the beginning of the call. Incredulity followed as someone from the Heritage House Museum in Key West, Florida informed me that my poem, "Pruning", was being awarded 3rd prize in the 2006 Robert Frost Poetry Contest. Please indulge my public exaltation. For this small-town kid, one of seven children and a lackluster student - this is a rather big day.
And so . .
. . here we are four years later and I'd like to report (but can't) that I've written more award winning poetry and the great American novel.
I'm afraid I'm quite content to rest on my laurels (given no choice ;0) .
So for the next several days I'll be preening contentedly - remembering that brief moment of exhilaration and trying not to remember my way-too-vainglorious response. Only human, folks. Flawed and human - the awareness of which - inspired this (ahem) award-winning poem:
Pruning is such a delicate matter
as we choose what must relinquish the right
to remain aloft and cling to the ladder
of the arbor where the squabbling jays natter
about their perches for the night.
It’s the space you cleave between the branch
and the trellised bark - you know will bleed.
You watch your questioning knuckles blanch
with the hope you’ve measured beyond mere chance
as required by the gardener’s creed
in the dog-eared books which try to say
about the choices a man must make
as to what must go and what may stay,
to love the light for another day.
The pruner knows his hands’ mistake
will leave the roots beneath his job
making their peace with the fool in the air,
judging his work while his temples throb,
as he stifles regret, with a tight-throated sob,
over the error for the things in his care.
Catherine Wilson 2006