This Enormous Blue Morning A Borrowed Line Poem

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!”

Enormously blue,

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 day,

this blue enormous day

It’s ours,

but it won’t keep.

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4 thoughts on “This Enormous Blue Morning A Borrowed Line Poem

  1. Stealing lines is one of my favorite ways to jump start a poem.
    The sun’s warmth still a promise
    in the dewy dark of dawn.
    I step in wet grass and feel its coolness,
    its newness
    as I step out into this
    enormous blue day.


  2. Memories are wonderful and we all have many stored, just something to tickle them and bring them forth. I loved reading this, Julie. I have many memories about that driveway full of steps. I am certain your Grandmother Jost does also. 🙂


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