Plog 3rd August 2012

August 3rd, 2012 Posted in Uncategorized

On Friday 4th May I went for a group interview to study for an MSc in Creative writing for Therapeutic Purposes.
We were asked to choose a line or so from Mary Oliver’s ‘The Journey’ and spend five minutes writing a poem. Here is Mary Oliver’s poem:

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognised as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do
determined to save
the only life
you could save.

© Mary Oliver

and here is my attempt:

though the voices around you
kept shouting
shouting very quietly
and determinedly
attempting to direct
your very reasoning
in spite of the fact
they had no access to it.
They assumed
because they wanted
to want the best thing
for you.
But the clarity
of intuition
was irrefutable.

© Katrina Plumb

But the next day it had started working on me and here is the sonnet that arose:

To an ex-prisoner

Inside your heart is not insidious
although authorities make out it is.
In sighs and shrugs you can convey at first
the impossibility of justice.

Let us make a space for all your concerns
Where we can do justice to each challenge
And do it respectfully on its own terms.

The rules and restrictions set to strangle
your will to breathe freely tie you in knots,
infesting intestines. Disentangle
your nervous system from all these life-clots.

Welcome your seldom-acknowledged demons
They have each of them got something to say
We can listen until they find freedom.

What do you think? I would be interested to read your response to this exercise. Enjoy it!


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