I'm always searching for words, it seems.
I see something that's new to me, and I search for a word or phrase which will help me to store the image of it ... that first impression ... somewhere that I can retrieve it ... so I can tell somebody else about it.
At my age, retrieving it is sometimes a problem ... but I don't let that keep me from trying to store it where I think it will be easy to find again. I do keep trying.
When I write ... which is often, for I'm always jotting things down on little scraps of paper ... I search for words then, too ... casually on first writing something ... I'm not looking to make a photo-realist image, but to form a rough sketch, something to build on later.
And when later comes ... time for revising ... that's when the really serious search begins.
As this poem began toying with me, it occurred to me that I might find some magic in those early words which first presented themselves to me ... "that sprang upon me like playful kittens."
I try to maintain as much of that as possible, that element of surprise in hearing something for the first time, or seeing something through new eyes, as though for the first time.
I think it must have been a winter evening when I first began writing what would become "Searching for Words."
I must have been reminded of other moonlit winter evenings when the wood smoke rose lazily from chimneys, and I knew that dreams were visiting the residents while I trudged the lonely road toward home.
I hope you search for words, too. I hope you'll find a lot of beautiful, soothing ones ... words you'll want to keep ... and share with others ... like seashells, or beautiful stones discovered during a walk along the beach. Happy hunting!
And now, the poem:
SEARCHING FOR WORDS
I search the silent
corridors of my mind,
seeking words that
softly sought my young
ears, that sprang
upon me like playful
into songs, casting
their spell, as haunting
as the thin gray curl
and reach of wood smoke
on a winter evening.
(originally published in Midwest Poetry Review)
Today's word: kittens