Rye diary: Day seven

A lot has been changing, and I have not been fast enough with my camera. You can see that the winter rye has grown taller.

backyard with rye patch

The seed heads grow larger and more defined.

close up of rye seed head

This is why I planted the rye in the first place—for these jewels. And now they’re starting to bloom!

Still scraggly looking, but it’s a work in progress.

On day five of the rye diary, I talked about free writes—how all the writing I’ve been doing in my notebook feels like a scraggly patch, leggy and with nothing standing out.

The seed heads beginning to develop made me think of work, or more exactly, energy. The energy it takes to make these intricate structures, and the work I need to put in to make a few notes or a free write into a first draft—even a rough first draft—of a poem. This past week, I started that work.

My writing group was going to meet, and I wanted to have something to bring, at least a reasonable facsimile of that rough draft. I took a little time away from homework for poem work—going over some of those earlier writings, grouping them together, splitting them apart again, pulling out lines or paragraphs, going back, starting over, trying to make two or three poems into one, going back again, until I thought I had one idea I could work with.

Emphasis on “work,” because I realized how much I needed that, how easy it is for me to lose confidence when I’m not in the thick of it. The meeting was later postponed, but I’m grateful to have a poem started, grateful for the reminder that immersion and attention nurture the writing, and grateful for this funny little patch of winter rye.

What do you do when you feel rusty or fallow? How do you start on a poem?