Note: When I revise a poem at all, it usually works like this: I write a poem, I walk away from it for a bit, then reading it again I take the bottom 2/3 off it, or the top 2/3 off, and find my poem sitting somewhere in the middle. In this case, I wrote “Reclusion” exactly as it was in those eight lines and felt it was done. I published it here, and then went back to my working document to write something else. I found my mind wanted to keep playing with the lines and the words of “Reclusion,” though. I added two sections of diminishing length that used the same language from the first eight lines. I got up and walked away. I came back. I slept on it. I tinkered with stuff in the basement and back yard. I came back inside. I read it again. I felt like this longer version is the actual poem. Although Melissa Crowe of Beloit Poetry Journal might laugh reading what I’m about to write, I don’t often think the longer version is better. But in this case… I dunno… So, not to get in the way of the first published version, I will let that one stand on its own. But here’s a different look at “Reclusion.” Feel free to tell me where I should have stopped. Or, should I keep going?…
Give me three words then sleep.
Like three mountains I’ll have
To climb before you wake.
Or like time I’ll wear them down
To level with me in the hollow
Quandary time between dreams.
The heart like a quiet piano
In a room the moon doesn’t reach.
In a room the moon doesn’t reach
To level with me: in the three hollow
Words sleep climbed before I woke:
Or like the time you wore them, down
In the heart’s quiet piano, notes
Like three mountains I can still see.
In the hollow piano
In the room before I woke
The moon dreams of mountains