While I might not write a lot of poems in the course of a year, I do take notes and make sketches, which I put away for later. “Why?” was among a collection of notes I dragged out recently. I’ve one, a longer one than my usual but still under 15 lines, that I am trying to rewrite into intelligibility. “Why?” didn’t call for a lot of changes.
The question was asked in a comment from Tokoni O. Uti: “What inspired it?” I did not remember when I wrote the poem, and I’ve deleted all the posts on this blog several times since March 2010. I found the impetus for a number of my poetry notes in one of my Live Journal posts on March 22, 2010, which harken back to a week in 2004, which can be found on this page: Losses and Coping. The following post, also from LiveJournal, recalls that week in 2004. I have included the text of my response to Tokoni O. Uti’s question.
I wrote the poem on March 24, 2010. I wrote a lot of poetry and notes for poems, that week.
For the 22nd of that month, I found four posts, one of which is what kicked off that poem and a lot of fragments that have become poems or are still in my “to be written” folder.
“It’s six years this week that Katherine Lawrence died. I remember that week. There were other deaths, that week in 2004: a family connection, of leukemia, and an Internet friend, of emphysema. I don’t know why her death hit me so hard, since she and I had never met.
“As the vote on health care reform came closer, the memory of those days between her disappearance and her body’s being found…the waiting and praying and hoping…the pain of memory has been so sharp, I have trouble forcing breath past it. Would it have made the difference for her? I wonder, who will it make a difference for?” [22 March 2010]
“Why?” is my personal response to the question of why I should still be alive in the midst of the pain and loss during that week, looking forward to more and more such weeks in coming years…my own sensitivity and connectedness from which not even the most severe isolation can provide adequate protection. “Why?” is the shift in perspective that justified continuing.
It is interesting, having archives to go back to. Long ago and far away, I kept paper journals. They’ve long since been relegated to residential waste disposal, after pulling out poems and such. The electronic ones can be printed to PDFs (which I should do) and archived on a designated EHD. . . . I don’t seem to have a “To Do” list.