Evolution of the Poem: Faded Memories

Earlier this year, I read a wonderful post at Kelli Russell Agodon’s Book of Kells blog entitled “What You Don’t See Behind the Poem”. Using Fuzzmail, she gave a glimpse of the evolution of a poem from start to finish. Hers is a humorous tale, and I found myself laughing as I read, and re-read, the post.

I’ve been thinking about haiku and editing. Short poems look deceptively simple to write. Most of the time, they go through numerous revisions from start to finish. I usually compose on the computer, deleting and rewording as I go, and I tend to forget just how many stages one poem can undergo. I thought it might be fun to work up a poem from start to finish.

Here’s the finished product:

FADED MEMORIES

blue linen ribbon
wrapped around a seashell wreath
the scent of sea foam

And here’s the messy, ugly, evolution of the poem:

That blue ribbon on my seashell wreath is looking kind of worn and faded … it’s been a long time since I’ve been to the beach …

faded blue ribbon
ties seashells and sand together
faded memories

faded blue ribbon
wrapped around moss and seashells
memories of the sea

strip of blue linen
ties seashells and moss
into faded memories

blue linen ribbon
tied around a seashell wreath
the smell of the ocean

blue linen ribbon
tied around a seashell wreath
faded scent of moss

blue linen ribbon
wrapped around a seashell wreath
the taste of sea foam

blue linen ribbon
wrapped around a seashell wreath
the smell of sea foam

blue linen ribbon
wrapped around a seashell wreath
the scent of sea foam

Then I had to think up a title:

The Wreath?
Seaside Memories?
Found Treasure?
Faded Memories

Is this poem really finished? I tend to edit my poems every time I look at them, until I finally get to a point where I don’t think I can add or change any more without losing the essence of the poem. Since I just wrote this tonight, I don’t have enough perspective yet to know if it’s finished. Only time will tell.

Photo credit & wreath-maker: Mama Joules

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