Capturing a Moment my poem Cycle

I find that sometimes a moment, a glimpse of someone, draws me to them,  makes me want to capture something of their essence as I perceive it in that one fleeting moment.  I live in a small town in Western Pennsylvania with the old neighborhoods. At all times moving about town, I hear a snatch of conversation, catch that glimpse of something occurring between two people intent on private conversation, or a few gathered in front of a small bar or kids playing around on a corner…. or any number of observations of aspects of daily life that constantly surround us, impact us. We all live and move in the present, but I think perhaps writers and artists and photographers, musicians, notice, not just see in passing, but notice.  And then want to share something they find in these moments, these observations, with others, or just for themselves and perhaps later with others.  I don’t think this is in any way deliberate, for me personally, I know for others it is. For me, I know I absorb it, process my observations almost unconsciously, and then know that it is mine, that a poem has begun. It sounds a little out there to some people, I’m sure.  This just happens to be one of the ways I find a poem somehow, write that poem, and have it almost revise itself.  Just as I’ve talked about writers groups on my site, I want eventually to talk about the writers notebook.  It’s one of the most important tools for my personal art and craft. Anyway, this poem Cycle came to me one evening when I was taking my dog for his walk. It was almost dusk on a summer day. A girl passed us on her bike, racing home I guessed, and there was something about her. A vitality, a vividness of spirit, a joy.. That glimpse, that moment actually flooded me with memory of my own love as a child, of going fast and faster, wind tangling my hair, that total connection with the present.  I had once been that girl.  I immediately went home and in my little notebook scrawled words and phrases of the details I had not only seen, but that I had felt.  A month later, I went back to it, relived it in words. As I wrote it, it evolved very effortlessly and unexpectedly into a revelation of the woman she would become. Just as I have been that woman. As happens often when writing, our poem takes us on a journey. I wonder if for someone who reads this post, I have conveyed a sense of creative process you recognize in yourself and your own writing. Or for someone who hasn’t tried this, to see if you perhaps want to see if it leads to a piece you might not have thought of.  Here is my poem Cycle. I hope you enjoy it.


She flashes past

on battered bike,

a boy’s,

perhaps bequest

from older brother

to a sister still a child.

Her face intent,

she leans

into the dusk,

streaks for home,

outraces dark.


from down the block,

I hear her laugh,


I, too, have

felt such joy.

She has caught the wind

in her tangled hair

and felt her body sing.


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