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taking myself out of the poem

September 10, 2010

This is isn’t my poem for the day. This is a revision of yesterday’s poem. I don’t usually post revisions, but the comments yesterday really helped me move this piece closer to where it wants to be. I wanted it shorter. The advice was to yank myself out of the poem by my spiky red hair. Well, it was phrased much more politely than that, but essentially that’s what I had to do. Take myself out of the poem. Imagine that. I bet there are a bunch of poems to be written that don’t have anything to do with me. Ha!


  1. September 10, 2010 1:51 pm

    My comment on the original crow poem disappeared into never never land. I made reference to Ted Hughes’s Crow collection. The second version is miles better. I’m so glad you posted it.

    • September 10, 2010 1:53 pm

      thanks, viv! it IS better. that’s what friends are for!

      p.s. sorry about your original comment. 😦

  2. September 10, 2010 2:05 pm

    What? write a poem and leave ME out
    egad. my favorite audience is also my subject

    This is a more economical poem, but I liked the nervousness of the original. Maybe use the first half for another piece–made me think of people in the IHOP at 3AM

  3. eskenosen permalink
    September 10, 2010 2:11 pm

    Oh, I love this. I liked the first version, but this one is just so much more clear, condensed, mysterious. Such a good image, and I love the way the poem and title talk to each other.

  4. systematicweasel permalink
    September 10, 2010 3:28 pm

    Wonderfully written piece! Sometimes when we take ourselves out of our work, and let the work grow itself, we create something stronger. Awesome post!

    -Weasel =)

    • September 10, 2010 4:00 pm

      yup. who knew!? 🙂 the crows don’t need me to watch them in order for them to be crows. and yes, that answers the riddle, “if a tree falls in the woods … “

  5. September 10, 2010 3:30 pm

    I read the first and the revised and it is impressive to see it had blossomed from something you were pleased with to something you’re confident in! I like the changes very much, it is so very original.

  6. Tess permalink
    September 10, 2010 3:37 pm

    The world needs crow poems not written by Ted Hugues. Your poem gave me an odd mental image of the rocking bird toy that dips its beak in water. But the bird was black and the water was mercury…..

    • September 10, 2010 3:59 pm

      hi, tess! so glad to see you here. hope to see you IRL soon! mcgeary’s for poets speak loud?

    • September 10, 2010 7:34 pm

      Tess, you should keep an eye on qarrtsiluni, then. We had a ton of crow poem submissions for our Crowd issue, and accepted several of them. I had no idea that poets were so fond of Crow! (Though as for me, I prefer ravens.)

      • September 10, 2010 7:39 pm

        i confess i was one of those that sent a crow poem to qarrtsiluni’s crowd issue. (and i heard about the deluge.) 🙂

        i confess i do not know the difference between a crow and a raven. except that poe knew how to write about ravens (in rhyme!) and sadly, i only know (sometimes) how to write about crows (sans rhyme).

        the URL for qarrtsiluni, by the way, is


        • September 11, 2010 8:27 am

          Thanks, Carolee! I also tried to comment here last night to say how much I liked the above poem, but my internet connection went down for the night just as I pushed “submit comment.” Frustrating! I guess I liked the observation of the head thrown back to drink as much as if not more than the reflection part.

          Ravens are larger and have diamond-shaped tails — that’s how to recognize them in flight. Their calls are also hoarser and more authoritative sounding. They don’t flock up quite the way crows do, for example to roost. They have even bigger vocabularies and seem even smarter, at least when measured by human standards — capacity for improvisation and tool use, etc. (See biologist Bernd Heinrich’s book Mind of a Raven if you’re curious.)

        • September 11, 2010 8:30 am

          Oh, and capacity for play — I think that’s one of the best indicators of intelligence across the animal kingdom. Crows have that in spades; ravens even more.

          • September 11, 2010 9:11 am

            And they’ve marvelous beaks, fatter where they attach to the head. And much much bigger. In the PNW they are not keen on people — you’ll find them in higher elevation, in wilderness, while our crows are urbanites. . They don’t seem to stay in large, tight family groups as do crows.

            And there is some Original American tales that say it is bad luck to look them in the eye. One of my climbing teachers told me so on the flank of St Helens.

  7. September 10, 2010 3:58 pm

    thanks, everyone! something funny is that i consider myself to be a decent editor and i’ve thrown more lines away than a lot of poets i know. bringing it down this much never occurred to me this time. glad dan spoke up.

    now i’m wondering about the title. just came up with “self absorbed something something” (isn’t it catchy? seriously, that’s not the new idea just the vein of thought but i’m thinking it’s too punny.)

  8. September 10, 2010 4:26 pm

    Aha – how clever and I DO love short stuff! 🙂

  9. September 10, 2010 4:27 pm

    Though I did not read the original. I love this.

  10. September 10, 2010 6:19 pm


    this is a wonderful piece. Do you know the myth and symbolic meaning of the crow because this so jives with that, it seems part and parcel of the same. Wonderful,


  11. September 10, 2010 9:34 pm

    I like this. Minimalist works so well..

    crooked window

  12. tillybud permalink
    September 11, 2010 6:01 am

    I love this. I haven’t seen the first version but I’m not going to look because I don’t want to spoil it.

  13. September 11, 2010 9:34 am

    Oh, dear. Delight my skinny comment. It looks funny on the page!

    Love this trim version. Love it. I have no advice for the title. I like this one, but understand why you might want to change it, too.

    • September 11, 2010 9:35 am

      Delight? I meant delete. Although the phrase above is funny. 🙂

  14. September 11, 2010 3:34 pm

    Carolee, I enjoyed your process…and will have to look at some of my poems and see if they would benefit from taking ME out. LOL. I like your revision.

  15. September 11, 2010 5:24 pm

    Carolee, I am sure you are very Zen in your own special way.

    I followed this process and like it very much. I too have written Crow.

    I have also eaten Crow, but not lately.

    Crow looks with beady
    eyes at the back of your skull,
    boring in with love,
    cold distant beak love.

  16. September 12, 2010 10:27 am

    What!! Write a poem NOT about ourselves? How in the world would I do THAT!!! ;o)
    (I think you might have been the crow…)

  17. September 13, 2010 2:19 pm

    Wasn’t here for the start of the show, but I sure love the ending here. Wonderful concise image! And it loops in on itself. Wonder if a title more about self-awareness might be more appropriate for what the poem says? Drinking yourself… delicious Carolee!


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