that small smudge of hope (a poem)

The November 6th prompt in The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice, by Kelli Russell Agodon & Martha Silano, is to pick a particular line from a particular page of the nearest book, then use that line as the title of the poem—and within the poem, if possible. I started by using my copy of The Daily Poet, which yielded the intriguing line ‘and they began selling steamed seawater’. Unfortunately, what I was getting from that was unsatisfying.

Then I got e-mail notifying me that HoneLife’s new poetry group had posted its first exercise. I followed the link to find that the prompt was very similar. The main difference was that the prompt called for turning to a random page, and pointing to a line without looking. Then it called for using that line as the first in a 3- to 5-line poem. I ended up going with a line from Franz Wright’s Kindertotenwald as reproduced in the deluxe edition of David Sylvian’s new release, there’s a light that enters houses with no other house in sight. Since I normally do not use lengthy lines, I broke up the line into three, then added four stanzas of three lines each to complete the poem.

In the first place,
it isn’t a mirror anymore
but a window

caked with dust
surface all dull brown and grey
except for the nose print in the center

the world outside
reduced to outlines and silhouettes
slowly fading into nothingness

but for that small smudge of hope
in the center
where a hint of light comes through

Now, in the darkness
of that space
at last, I have something to aim for

(6 November 2014)