Poetry Friday: A “Postscript” Imitation

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Congratulations, Brenda Davis Harsham of Friendly Fairy Tales! You are the winner of last week’s giveaway of a copy of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. I’m know you’ll love this impressive collection.

Recently, I’ve been reading A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver. In the chapter, “Imitation,” Oliver wisely counsels readers that “you would learn little in this world if you were not allowed to imitate.” As I read these lines, I thought of “Postscript” by Seamus Heaney. My head had been full of Heaney’s words and images for days. How would I imitate this gorgeous poem?  Could I? Should I even try?

I have very vivid memories of driving from freshman orientation at the University of Maine at Orono to my summer job in Camden for the first time, almost forty years ago. Over the years, I made that trip hundreds of times. But it was that first drive that came to mind instantly when I read Heaney’s poem.

And some time make time to drive down east
Along Route One, where it hugs the edge of Penobscot Bay
In late June, when lupines
Stand at attention, spreading a carpet of lavender
Over the hills and in the hollows
And the bay on one side catches the bright light
Of early summer, glistening like shards of glass
scattered among the whitecaps,
blown up by the ceaseless breeze.
And inland, among the stones left behind by sheets of ice
the pastures are green once again,
dotted with cows grazing
in the shadow of a farmhouse,
that has stood for a century, sheltering
weariness and joy, sorrow and laughter,
filling its ever-expanding heart.

© Catherine Flynn, 2015

By Theendofforever at en.wikipedia. Later version(s) were uploaded by Ram-Man at en.wikipedia. [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/), GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
By Theendofforever at en.wikipedia (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
Please be sure to visit Jone Rush MacCulloch at Check It Out for the Poetry Friday Round Up.

Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnna, and Beth for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each day during the month of March and on Tuesdays throughout the year. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

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17 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: A “Postscript” Imitation

  1. And some time, neither here nor there,
    their sounds echoing from the hills,
    I swear I could hear their words dangling from trees,
    branches of ideas swung up in a wide arc,
    yet so whisperly and whispering that one could barely
    catch a glimpse of it before whatever was being said
    disappeared.

    –Kevin

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  2. This made my morning coffee more joyful. How perfect that I sitting in the kitchen in Hampden Maine thinking about my summers in Castine Maine should read such beautiful poetry about a trip from Orono to Camden. Thank you thank you.

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  3. I love when people share their memories. This is beautiful, Catherine, just right to capture that important time. “the pastures are green once again,
    dotted with cows grazing
    in the shadow of a farmhouse,” For some reason, my favorite lines-I can see it well!

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  4. I have Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook in my shelf. I eagerly read it as I try to learn more on writing poetry.
    The poem you shared is beautiful. The language so vivid that I could feel myself taking the same road. Thanks for sharing this poem. It was a wonderful experience reading it.

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  5. What a beautiful poem; I felt as if I were on the drive with you taking in the beauty. Your imagery did Heaney proud! Thanks also for the mention of Mary Oliver’s Poetry Handbook. It sounds like a resource to be added to my shelf .

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  6. Gorgeous poem, Catherine! Seamus Heaney would have been honored. My favorite lines:

    And the bay on one side catches the bright light
    Of early summer, glistening like shards of glass
    scattered among the whitecaps,
    blown up by the ceaseless breeze.

    Like

  7. I can’t imagine why I have had trouble with Seamus Heaney in the past–you just won him back for me! Your imitation is both honorific and independent. Lovely!

    Like

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