Original Poem: "As Cottonwood Feathers Swish" With Commentary

Updated on March 23, 2020
Maya Shedd Temple profile image

Writing poetry became my major composing activity circa 1962, & Mr. Malcolm Sedam's creative writing class in 1963-64 deepened my interest.

Cottonwood

Source

Introduction and Text of “As Cottonwood Feathers Swish”

My original poem, "As Cottonwood Feathers Swish," affords me the pleasant opportunity of looking back on a delightful event that occurred in my life. A writer's life is filled with hours of writing, yet many writers, especially if they hold down full time jobs do find it hard to cobble together several hours to engage in nothing but thinking, musing, writing, and rewriting. My speaker, in this poem, happily celebrates an occasion wherein she was allowed a five-hour window of writing opportunity.

The poem appears in my collection, Singing in Soul Silence: Voices of Faith, under the title "Boulder." I had to retitle this poem to place if on HubPages because the system used on this site flagged the poem as a commercial for the city of Boulder!

As Cottonwood Feathers Swish

for Ron

Cottonwood feathers swish around outside the window,
Sometimes galing like a snowstorm.
After a few claps of thunder, the rain came

And then stopped after a few minutes.
I've spent five hours alone in this room
While you attend to your business across town.

The luxury of five uninterrupted hours—
To think, to muse, to write, and rewrite—
Shine like diamonds on a freckled neck.

And I have about three more hours left
Until your welcome return.
We will go eat and shop and explore the village.

I will look for things to put in poems, things
Like mountains or cowboys or the laid-back
Style of the some of the college students.

You'll look for trinkets to take back to the kids
And encourage me to buy a dress or another turtle pin.
Maybe we'll splurge on rich dessert and coffee.

Back at the hotel, we'll maybe take a dip in the pool,
Or just relax and converse in the quiet love we cultivate
For each other—a love that grows far beneath the skin.

Commentary

This little bit of memory-lane discourse plays out in seven tercets. The occasion was a trip to Boulder and Aurora, Colorado. I was fortunate enough to accompany my husband on his trip to attend classes for his job as a medical information technician at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Indiana.

First Tercet: Wind in the Cottonwoods

Cottonwood feathers swish around outside the window,
Sometimes galing like a snowstorm.
After a few claps of thunder, the rain came

This movement reminds me of the townhouse we lived in while Ron was stationed in Aurora, Colorado, serving at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center, during his stint in the U.S. Army. There were cottonwood trees whose leaves constantly moved shedding their cotton filaments.

On one of her visits to our village townhouse, my mother mentioned an old adage about winds never stopping in the cottonwoods or some such. A lovely thought, glad I can remember it along with my belovèd mother.

Second Tercet: Time Alone

And then stopped after a few minutes.
I've spent five hours alone in this room
While you attend to your business across town.

As speaker of the poem, I am enjoying some time alone attending to my writing with luxury of several hours all in a row. I report that some rain came and went during those "five hours" I have spent “alone." The simplicity of the setting allows me the luxury of delving to the core of what actually happens as the serenity exudes little memory thought like a sweet perfume.

Third Tercet: Uninterrupted Hours

The luxury of five uninterrupted hours—
To think, to muse, to write, and rewrite—
Shine like diamonds on a freckled neck.

As the speaker then reporting my remembered activities, I liken those wonderful five hours to diamonds shining on a freckled neck. Any writer can identify with having five uninterrupted hours to concentrate on nothing but getting words put down on a paper—or on the scene, as the case may be.

Fourth Tercet: Anticipation of Some Diversion

And I have about three more hours left
Until your welcome return.
We will go eat and shop and explore the village.

To put some icing on the cake, I have three more hours until my veteran soldier husband returns. At which time, I will be ready for some diversion—a pleasant trip including eating and shopping and exploring the colorful little city which we are visiting.

Fifth Tercet: Things to Put in Poems

I will look for things to put in poems, things
Like mountains or cowboys or the laid-back
Style of the some of the college students.

Always the dedicated writer—or maybe obsessed writer—I state that I will be looking for "things to put in poems" as we enjoy our vacation-like business trip. The two cities of Boulder and Aurora seem to conflate for my memory. The nostalgia of a revisiting an abode of temporary residence enlivens the visit.

Sixth Tercet: A Hubby's Encouragement

You'll look for trinkets to take back to the kids
And encourage me to buy a dress or another turtle pin.
Maybe we'll splurge on rich dessert and coffee.

Hubby will look for souvenirs for the kids and also encourage me, the speaker/poet, to buy stuff for myself—what kind of lucky gal am I? The peaceful and easy relationship between my husband and me also informs and infuses these memories with a divinely joyous spirit. Such looking back makes such memories burst with pleasant realities.

Seventh Tercet: A Soul-Refreshing Life

Back at the hotel, we'll maybe take a dip in the pool,
Or just relax and converse in the quiet love we cultivate
For each other—a love that grows far beneath the skin.

Then we will return to the hotel, relax, and enjoy that fact that we have a rare kind of love that affords us a soul-refreshing life. Our journey through life may not always have afforded such tranquil pleasantries, but having lived through the challenges while building on the foundation of love that has allowed us prosper together now offers up memories that make all challenges worth their weight in diamonds and gold.

© 2020 Linda Sue Grimes

Comments

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  • Maya Shedd Temple profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Sue Grimes 

    3 months ago from U.S.A.

    Thank you for the kind words, Donna!

    Sharing one’s deepest and dearest experiences through poetry is a blessing, especially for the poet. And when others can appreciate and feel such gratitude as you have expressed, it is especially heartening.

    Have a great day, Donna! Blessings to you and yours!

  • Maya Shedd Temple profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Sue Grimes 

    3 months ago from U.S.A.

    Thanks for your comment, Rinita! Yes, it is a rare commodity for writers to have such a luxury, especially during those years when they are still working at full time at jobs that may or may not be related to one’s writing life. That was my case, even though I taught English composition! But for writers, especially poets, when a piece needs to be put down on paper, the time seems to find the poet rather than the other way around.

    Blessings to you and yours, Rinita! Have a great day!

  • Maya Shedd Temple profile imageAUTHOR

    Linda Sue Grimes 

    3 months ago from U.S.A.

    Thank you, Kathy, for the kind words!

    I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed your experience with my poem. It is always heartening to know that my poems offer a useful read to those who can enter them and ride along.

    This particular piece does capture for me that trip my sweet Ron and I shared. And I am fortunate enough to say that all of our little journeys through our life together as well as through the landscape have produced similar experiences. Capturing such events in poems is a blessing, far more satisfying than any mere journal entries which may or may not lead to such a polished discourse.

    Kathy, again thanks for the comment and blessings to you and yours!

  • Donna-Rayne profile image

    Donna Rayne 

    3 months ago from Greenwood, In

    Oh, how I loved this one sweet Linda. A wonderful loving poem! Thank you for sharing it and letting us see your journey.

    God bless,

    Donna Rayne

  • Senoritaa profile image

    Rinita Sen 

    3 months ago

    Delightful poem and yes, five hours to write is such a gift. I'm sure all writers can relate.

  • The Stages Of ME profile image

    Kathy Henderson 

    3 months ago from Pa

    Linda Sue,

    I love your poem, "As Cottonwood Feathers Swish" the title alone drew me in, and then I wrapped in its delight. In the timing of our world, it was lovely to sit with you in that room and walk along the streets with your love of both writing and your sweet husband. I also enjoyed the commentary. Thanks for sharing!

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