the prompt over at NaPoWriMo today was:
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it. This will work best if you just start with a line of poetry you remember, but without looking up the whole original poem. (Or, find a poem that you haven’t read before and then use a line that interests you). The idea is for the original to furnish a sort of backdrop for your work, but without influencing you so much that you feel stuck just rewriting the original!
I took my inspiration from one of my favorite female poets Brenda Hillman.
inspired by the memory of my late grandmother Rushie
You want to know where you are again?
Back in the labyrinth of the city
young as a quick-thieve,
you soft-skinned time-stealer.
Now the concrete is an oven,
but there's a spot of shade
on a patio between two buildings
where you stop to tie time together
with a rope of braided daisies.
Lay your hand across your eyes
and gaze backwards for a moment,
you'll remember the end of war,
the old steel boots of your daddy,
the grave your uncles dug for moonshine,
the tobacco leaves and cornstalks
you walked into and across like
a wonderland of bee buzz and plant.
Go deeper than the unknown
graves us moderns walk across,
back to the long, lazy days of
breaking beans in a dirt-floor room.
The simple times of front-porch coffee,
a dinner-table bible-study and
old time radio shows by fireplace
when, young as marigolds fresh-for-the-picking,
you laid across the grass and watched the
moon spin past the sun, two late-night headlights.
Back before you had a choice
between the dormitory and the rain,
the wood stoves that never fully cooked
away the crusty edges of adolescent dreams.
Peer down, deep inside the old soul,
the deer that danced between cypress
and metaphor, the woman-lady who
believed that death was a door presered
for the men of war and the other side
was a horizontal earth-imitation full
with dance floors and books with stories of girls
whose hands would never grow old of time.