Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Lucky

Guest post by Eugene Gagliano

In my heart, I’ve always been a poet.  Lucky?  Maybe. Sensitivity has been a gift and a burden.  Even in my childhood, I looked at the world differently than my friends.  Especially attuned to nature, I was the guy who stopped to smell a flower, listen to a stream, or study the clouds.  I appreciated small things. 

The view on one of his walks.
My first poem appeared in a middle school newspaper, after my seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Erwin, recognized my ability to write. Later other English teachers encouraged me and my poems appeared in national high school and college anthologies. Today I continue to write and share my poetry.

Recently, I tried to capture my morning walks in June in a poem.  I wanted the reader to share some of the beautiful summer mornings the way I experienced them.  This is how I went about writing the poem.

First, I honed in on my senses, letting one particular morning consume me.  I noted everything. When I returned home, I jotted down my impressions on a note pad, and decided to wait to write my rough draft until after I’d taken a few more walks.  Each day I focused on how the walk affected me, and wrote down my impressions.  I gathered my notes and then began to write the rough draft.
 
Next, I wanted to describe everything my eyes saw in a unique way.  The blue flax that flowered along the road became like spattered pieces of the sky. The leaves of the cottonwoods were like green coins glistening in the early morning sun light, as it floated to noon through threaded clouds.  The rancher’s irrigation wasn’t just watering the land, but creating rainbows through pulsating surges of water. 

Then, I wanted the reader to be immersed in the fragrance of the morning. I spoke of how I breathed deeply of the yellow clover that blanketed the landscape with billows of blossoms that hummed with bees, and the sweet scent of newly cut hay drying in furrowed fields that contrasted with the pungent pleasing corrals of manure.

The early morning sounds needed to be included, like the muffled bellowing of Black Angus bulls and the mountain run off of the gurgling stream, and the meadowlark’s solo song as pickup trucks swished by.

I wanted the reader to see and feel the cottonwood’s bark like wrinkled elephant skin, and the cool metallic sensation of an old iron wheel rusting into eternity.  Even the sweat on my upper lip should be tasted.

The morning walks were beautiful, but they also needed to be grounded in reality, and I had to take off the rose colored glasses and include the rancid smell of diesel fumes and the sickening stench of road kill, all part of the walks.  Then, I remembered seeing the passing blue pickup truck of a friend.  He was driving into another day with the burden of the loss of his son.

After completing the first draft, I put the poem aside for a few days and then looked at it again with fresh eyes.  I read it aloud, then revised and edited. 

Simple walks down a country road held a sensory palette for me, with a seasoning of emotions.  I guess I’m lucky; I see the world through a poet’s eyes.



Eugene M Gagliano’s love of nature developed early in the suburbs just outside the woodlands and farmlands of Niagara Falls. He began writing poetry in seventh grade, and his poems were published in national high school and college anthologies. He has authored several children's books. He taught in grades K-5 for 34 years. Now he is a full time writer and author presenter. 

6 comments:

  1. Not much of a better way to view the world, indeed.

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  2. Glad you enjoyed this, Dean. Thanks for stopping by. :)

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  3. Thank you for sharing your writing process! That is very helpful. (And beautiful.)

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    1. Glad you found it useful, Chere. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. What a tease Gene is. All that description only to leave us wondering about the poem, not being able to read it. I use a somewhat similar process, gathering lots of stuff, most of which ends up on the cutting room floor. But I almost never start with an idea and then gather the info. Usually the info has suggested the poem and I go from there. Thanks, Gene, for the slightly different approach. I need to try it. Perhaps on my daily walks with my pups. Maybe they can add some smells and sights.

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  5. Yeah, that Gene... :-)

    I haven't written poetry long enough to know exactly what my process is, but I love hearing from other folks about how the poems come to them.

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