At the Boothbay Literacy Retreat I was introduced to a new (to me) technique for writers called a borrowed line poem. You read the poem of another author to find a line that especially resonates for you. That line then becomes the foundation of a poem of your own. In the new context the line may take on an entirely new meaning from the poem of its origin. It’s a wonderful writing exercise.
From Mary Oliver’s poem, Notebook, I borrowed this line: “the enormous blue morning”.
It inspired this reflection on summer mornings of my early childhood. We lived in a house on a hill with concrete stairs tucked between tire paths up the steep drive.
The Enormous Blue Morning
By Julie Burchstead (with a nod to Mary Oliver).
The enormous blue morning opened wide
as the slap of my sandals
counted the cement steps
down the drive.
Slap! slap! Like staccato code
to my sleeping friends,
“Wake up! Come Out!”
a bit dewy around its grassy edges yet,
the sun’s warmth still a promise only
this day so new, so enormous.
I sit on the bottom step
feeling grit through my thin cotton shorts
hugging my goosebumped legs
Waiting on the bottom step
for the clap of screen doors
as sleepy children come tumbling out
of morning houses.
“Hey! Shake off those cobweb dreams.
Come out, come out!”
this blue enormous day
but it won’t keep.