On February 15, 2013. Los Gatos Poet Laureate, Erica Goss wrote:
Prompt for 2/15/13: The poetry of love. Valentine’s Day just passed, but love is eternal! Consider this lovely poem by Mary Lou Taylor of Saratoga:
When I First Awoke
pockets full of marbles
jacks and a ball
A lustrous floor
with open arms
to return again
that trembling season
I want to relive
that moment of fire
when I first
awoke to love
by Mary Lou Taylor, The Fringes of Hollywood, Jacaranda Press, 2002
About writing the poem, Mary Lou wrote, “I was taking a day class from Ken Weisner. I sat in my car scribbling and eating a brown bag lunch. That’s the poem that came out, and I walked into class and read it. No edit on that poem. I wish all were that easy to write.” The poem does feel fresh and immediate, filled with longing for connection and romance. How can we write a poem that leaps off the page like this one? We’re not always so lucky as to receive an entire poem in one draft.
Mary Lou’s poem works because of its details. Short as it is, it’s a biography of emotions, moving quickly from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Reading it brought up wave after wave of memories, from playing jacks with other children during school recess, to my first high school dance, to the sudden joy of a first crush, and the Earth’s yearly renewal of Spring. Notice that the poem is not addressed to anyone in particular; rather, it focuses on love itself.
Begin by making two lists: how you feel when you are in love, and how you feel when love is over. Use specifics, and avoid clichés. Examine your lists and see where the story is.