Poetic Workshop: First Draft

by Scot Walker (October 2020)

Birch and Maple, A.Y. Jackson


Langston’s First Attempt

Hug tightly, snuggle up to trees
For if trees die
Life is life’s a broken wounded-winged wombat
That can never fly again—even in the pitiest of days.
Hug tightly and smoosh your buttocks closely up to trees
For trees greet you
if you stand in life’s barren field
fending off the sleet that condensates around you.


Joyce’s Scribbling on the Back of a Napkin

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as the woods.
The woods whose hungry appetite is never sated
Against the earth’s sweet flowing is fated;
The woods which look at God all day,
As they lift their leafy arms to pray;
The woods that oft in Summer wear
A nest of chickadees in their hair;
Upon whose branches sleet has lain
Who intimately live with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make the woods.


Ed’s First Attempt

Whose bells these are I think I know.
His Rectory’s in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To listen to his bells toiling with grief.
My inner ear must think it queer
To stop without an abbey near
Between the bells and frozen lake.
The darkest eventide of year.
I give my cochlea hair a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the snore
of Quasimodo as he guards his bells

His bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells, bells
The bells are that are so lovely, loud and mellow.
But I must hurry on to my fellow
The brother of my Annabelle Lee,
Who waits for me
Who waits for me.

Hear the sledges dragging trees—
Silvery, gossamer trees!
What a world of merriment their leafy green foretells!
How they blink, twizzle and suddenly sizzle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that over sprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystal meth delight;
Keeping minute, minute, minute,
In a Christian kind of synod
To the tickling, flickering, brickeling that so dramatically wells
From the trees, trees, trees, trees,
trees, trees, trees—
From the jingling and the tinkling of the trees.


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Scot Walker is celebrating his 60th year as a published author with hundreds of published novels, short stories, essays, poems and plays. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild and his plays have been produced throughout the USA.

Follow NER on Twitter @NERIconoclast


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