Do you ever listen to The Writer’s Almanac (Garrison Kiellor)? If you do, you’ll know that the broadcast includes a poem, and historical and literary notes for the day. Yesterday’s poem was called “After the Wedding,” by John Daniel.
After the Wedding
After the white balloons were swept away
on the wind that had swallowed
most of our vows, after the embraces
and tears, the flung rose petals,
after new friends and old friends and aunts
from everywhere, after you tossed
the bouquet, and the cries of the children
raised coyote cries on the rim . . .
As I listened to the Daniel poem, read by Garrison Keillor through earbuds on iTunes, the rhythm of the “afters” caught my imagination. After the . . . after the . . . after the . . . Huh! I thought. What else could be done in this way?
This morning I sat down at my desk and went over the rhythm in Daniel’s poem. There was something about hearing it read aloud that really stood out, and I decided to try to write a poem “in the style of” Daniel’s poem “After the Wedding,” something that would capture that sense of time floating by as small things happen, small things that lead to big things. Here it is.
I was away for a few days last week for a lovely visit with family in northern California. See if you can recognize the things we did, my cousin and I, and how I tried to frame those things in the pattern in “After the Wedding.”
When We Got to Monterey Bay
After John Daniel
After the garlic farmlands of Gilroy
swept by along the filmstrip of our
car windows, after the heaviness of
90-degree August breath, after cousin
and aunt and borrowed family
from San Jose, after you told
stories of your childhood
and college and I told
stories of first marriage
and adulthood, after the Fishwife
lunch across the street from Asilomar,
the last meandering along 17-mile drive
and coffee in cozy Carmel,
how good it is
to find us staring across
a brown seal head
popping up, curious
not 40 feet away
Do you ever try to write-photograph-draw something creative by mimicking another artist’s work? It is a long tradition by fine artists to copy works of the masters, to learn the brushstrokes, study the color choices and composition techniques; I find doing the same thing with literary arts can be hugely creative and satisfying. If you have not, consider giving it a try! Thanks for reading!