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A quick introduction: This past semester, I took the Introduction to Creative Writing class. Most important thing learned: How to take feedback and balanced criticism. Other important thing learned: how fun crazy wild radical revisions can be.

So this turned out to be the poem I kept coming back to. The other one just seemed too complete to condense down into thirty lines. (And apologies for the free verse, because she said “don’t worry about iambic pentameter.”)

Enjoy!

Finals Version

Planting seeds in the garden with Grandma:
Poking small slippery seeds into the moist, dark earth.
“Won’t they be scared?” I asked. “Isn’t it dark down there?” Grandma smiled.
“That’s why they’ll reach for the sun,” she said.

The tiny seedlings are still reaching for the sun, though they’re not so small now.
Everything else is gone.

I pass quickly through the parlor: mouldering sheets cover the furniture like decaying cobwebs
Reduced to rags and shreds, neglected all alike by their makers.
Clematis, climbing, twines the railing to which I cling; support for them, merely precarious for me.
Up creaking stairs, a bedstead stands on its side, its ripped bolster spilling feathers
Like the love letters, once hoarded, now carried by the breeze, ink dripping and running, across the floor—
So brittle.
A bottle, fallen from the vanity, weeps crystal tears onto a bone-dry wood floor.
Maybe its perfume smelled sweet once, but now a smell of stale oil  too tired to be rancid
wafts my nose: a million wishes of high-school prom, “Footloose” playing in the background.
Splinters of glass from the fallen mirror reflect shattered shards of light, dimmed by dust and rust.

Why did I return?

Sunflowers lean in, peering through the glassless upstairs windows.
The sprawling roses we planted have climbed through the window and jammed up the sash; it will never be lowered.
Hollyhocks poke at the roses, but are no challenge to their supremacy.
The walls are a mass of roses; violets peep shyly from the corner
Moss crawls the dry floorboards like a rich green carpet, forgiving my passing feet with its softness.
Pansies smile from the kitchen, gossiping with laughing daffodils.
Lilacs shelter sun-beaten ferns with their shade.
Fingers of ivy pry apart the bricks and cement
and daisies push up through the floor, shifting wood and rubble aside like a curtain.
The house is a mass of wild flowers and its heady scent is a laugh of triumph:
The flowers will always remember the woman who planted them.

First Draft

Was this someone’s home, once?

Half-broken windows let in the wind
some panels neglected by Time for now;
soon enough Time will come to claim them
Entropy, her servant, going before.

Sheets that cover the furniture are reduced to rags and shreds like pale spider webs
neglected by their makers.
Up creaking stairs, a bedstead dreams
pillows tossed on the floor and ripped at the seams  spilling feathers
like yellowed letters from a mailbag.

A bottle weeps crystallized tears onto a long-since bone-dry floor.
Maybe they smelled sweet once, but now a faint smell of stale oil  too tired to be rancid
Reaches my nose.
Splinters of glass from a mirror reflect the light, dimmed and shaded by dust and rust.
Clinging to the railing as if it will hold me, I descend
As if in a dream.

Sprawling roses have climbed through the window and jammed up the sash; it will never be lowered.
Moss crawls the dry floorboards like a rich green carpet, forgiving my passing feet with its softness.
The walls are a mass of roses; violets peep from the corner
Pansies smile from the kitchen, gossiping with the laughing daffodils.
Lilacs shelter sun-beaten ferns with their shade.
Fingers of ivy pry apart the bricks and cement
and daisies push up through the floor, shifting wood and rubble aside like a curtain.
The house is a mass of wild flowers and its heady scent is a laugh of triumph.
The house is still home.

First Revision

My grandmother’s garden has moved into the house.
Sunflowers lean in, peering through the glassless upstairs windows.
I pass quickly through the parlor:
Sheets covering the furniture are reduced to rags and shreds like pale spider webs
neglected by their makers.
Up creaking stairs, a bedstread dreams
pillows tossed on the floor and ripped at the seams  spilling feathers
like yellowed letters from a mailbag.

A bottle weeps crystallized tears onto a long-since bone-dry floor.
Maybe they smelled sweet once, but now a faint smell of stale oil  too tired to be rancid
Reaches my nose.
Splinters of glass from a mirror reflect the light, dimmed and shaded by dust and rust.
Climbing clematis twines the banister, faint honeysuckle scent wafting through the entryway.
Clinging to the railing as if it will hold me like the clematis, I descend
As if in a dream.

Was this ever really just our house?
The sprawling roses we planted have climbed through the window and jammed up the sash; it will never be lowered.
Moss crawls the dry floorboards like a rich green carpet, forgiving my passing feet with its softness.
The walls are a mass of roses; violets peep shyly from the corner
Hollyhocks poke at the roses that cluster the window, but are no challenge to their supremacy.
Pansies smile from the kitchen, gossiping with laughing daffodils.
Lilacs shelter sun-beaten ferns with their shade.
Fingers of ivy pry apart the bricks and cement
and daisies push up through the floor, shifting wood and rubble aside like a curtain.
The house is a mass of wild flowers and its heady scent is a laugh of triumph:
Even if it is not mine, the house is still home.

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