Surprise Poetry Marathon – Day 5

Today is the last day of the Surprise Marathon. I was feeling in need of a calmer experience after yesterday. I thought of Chestnut Hill College’s Logue Library. Perfect.

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Side view of the library – with the Reading Room windows in view.

I parked in the lot below the main part of the college. I saw a deer along its edge. And I got a nice shot of the main building – it looks very castle-like.

I’ve done several sessions at Logue Library – you may remember the Reading Room, and I’ve also sat in the stacks.

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View of the Reading Room from the next level, where I sat today.

And – you may also remember the library cat. I was thrilled to come up to the building and see him lying on the steps in the sunshine. When I went in, I told the librarian at the desk I’d been hoping to see him, and I was glad he looked so comfortable. “Yes,” she said, “he just went out”, as if I’d been mentioning a member of the staff who’d been working around the place and now just stepped away…

I decided to sit upstairs in the stacks this time, just for variety. I found a nice table and got set up. On my way, I passed this pencil sharpener fastened to the wall.

It almost made me cry, for the memories I have of using devices such as these, so long ago. I don’t know how often pencils get sharpened by college students, but I’m glad this machine is still in place.

All right. I did the usual speed poems for about an hour. And I’ll tell you, the building was beautifully quiet. Just what I needed for today.

Then I had my choice between some administrative kind of stuff – I plan to be setting up my next poetry book, collage poetry, in the near future, and I could have started on that. I also could have done some work on the “Epic” mentioned a few days ago. But – I felt like writing, so I chose the option of doing haikus.

I set myself a goal – 20. That should be doable in the time before the library closed, I thought. I let my mind drift and I wrote down sentences – five or seven syllables, not necessarily with any accompanying lines. Then, as I looked them over, more ideas came to mind. I filled in some additional lines and came up with new ones. Then, third lines started appearing; haikus were getting finished.

I kept up like this until I finished – 20! I will give you a few of them here right now.

8.
Against the pale sky
the fan-shaped crack in the glass
a hot silver streak

9.
Outside the leaves blow.
In silence the cracked window
breaks and repairs them.

16.
Scuffed, faded, peeling:
the green linoleum floor
despairs of its looks

17.
The pale drapes ripple
A river of tired fabric
puddled on the sill.

20.
The hot afternoon
calls through the open window
for some attention.

*******

The Surprise Poetry Marathon is now over. I will let things rest for a week or so and then start some editing. That will take time, I know from experience, but it’s a rewarding process to see what emerges from this work. Thanks, everybody, for following along.

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19 thoughts on “Surprise Poetry Marathon – Day 5

    • I really like it here. The thing that is hard is that the college is not in good shape, financially, and that’s one reason the library is a time capsule to some extent. Well, it will evolve as it does, but for now, I really enjoy going there. There really is an atmosphere of calm and peace and humanness.

  1. I’ve really enjoyed the marathon and having a look around the libraries, how wonderful you have so many, so near. I wonder if anyone has a blog posting different libraries, I’d follow!

    • We do, we are LOADED with them, public, college, and even some private ones. Very very lucky. I grew up in a small town where the library was originally in a church basement, so I really value the choice I now have. Bet you could search libraries as a term, and see?

    • Yes, I feel good about it now, I was wondering how it might go (because usually I plan what I want to work on and also save up some ideas) but once you start to focus, thoughts work their way up to where you can write about them. I’m glad I did it, even though I felt a bit flustered going into it from the things going on the weeks before. It was calming, really.

    • Thank you. That is what I hope to do. Because I have an ordinary life, but I think it’s fascinating, how each day goes, and I write about what I know, which is this. Ever since I was a child, I have been interested in pretty much everything I stumble into (my family says it is very easy to entertain me, and cheap, just show me some rocks on the ground or give me some paper and scissors, etc., and I’m good for hours). It’s a nice way to live, I never get bored!

    • I was afraid that might be it. CH library is such a time capsule. I feel right at home there. I may take some pencils over to sharpen next time. I was really happy to see the cat too. He lives with his family and comes over to visit the college – crossing a street, that’s dangerous – . I was worried so you can imagine my excitement when I saw him very first thing!

      • The streets are not kind to animals (or people around here these days…), so I share your relief at the cat’s continued safe passage.

    • Thank you! I was able to get within maybe 5 yards of the deer before it went back into the undergrowth. Deer around here are unafraid and everywhere (including my backyard, walking across the street, so on and so on). The cat, now, that is one fantastic cat.

      • The deer here are unafraid too. At least where we are. In another area, about 20km from where I now live, traps are set to catch them for the pot. I haven’t found any here thank heavens. I usually keep my gate closed for any possible stray dogs to protect my cat so the deer can’t come inside, although one day one did because I forgot to close the gate the night before. Cats: so much to say about them. If you ever come across a book called Particularly Cats by Doris Lessing, I strongly advise you read it. Autobiographical around her relationship with various cats she owned. Or was owned by.

      • I will certainly look for that book. Sounds like my kind of thing. As for deer, they are so common that they are considered pests and in several county and state parks near me, they are hunted in the fall (these parks do not usually allow any hunting and the parks close for a few days for the hunt) because they are too numerous for the restricted amount of land and they starve in the winter. I am sorry for it, but I have seen the starved dead deer, too. Anyway, it’s very easy to see deer almost every day in my back yard. I have no garden anymore because of them. I’m not really a fan of them.

  2. Wow, what a castle library! 😮 The first thing that pops up is the fact how many libraries are all around you! Including one with a deer, and a cat and a pencil sharpener like that! I don’t think I have seen a single one since coming to Italy.

    The second thing is how much you have done in a short time. You are an achiever. You say you would and you do it. The word “role-model” comes to mind. Not nearly everybody is like that.

    Finished already, the surprise marathon! And as always, you’re the winner.

    • We do have many many libraries around me – I could go to one a day for several weeks and not travel more than 15 or so miles in one direction. I like that, I can’t imagine my life without them. CHC library is so pleasant and I appreciate it that the college allows outsiders to use it. Public libraries have to let anyone in, but the colleges do not. Thank you also for your other comments. I try not to set goals I am not willing to work for, maybe that’s why it works for me, but I know I do better if I have a plan (even if it falls through, goes wrong, etc…!) also, I try as hard as possible to allocate my time to things I like and not the things I don’t, I’m at a stage of life where I can do that more, and I’m grateful. Thank you so much for what you said, I think you over-state it, but it made me feel good.

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