Origin Stories – Cathy Thwing

Origin Stories
    Glosa: On Seeing Your Poem Beside the Words of Others
    by Cathy Thwing

    I stay quiet 
    until the sun flattens on the landscape, 
    and the map of the day unfolds 
    its long dream of innocence.
    — ELEGY BY MARTIN WILLITTS JR. (from Gyroscope, Spring 2022)

    “Who will read?”
    Five hands shoot up. Not yours.
    Decades later, the man behind the tie
    declares, “We want your ideas.”
    Before words have fallen
    into a train that might possibly leave
    the station, the question has been discussed,
    debated, argued, accepted, and agreed
    upon. You stay quiet.

    You get in trouble
    when you speak.
    It’s easier, safer, 
    better, healthier, to step 
    outside into the mustard field
    or climb an oak with a chattering jay
    until the sun flattens on the landscape.

    Solitary, except for sparrows,
   mute, except for secret songs,
    this is not a bad way
    to spend a life. It’s a type of belonging.
    How is it possible to feel one
    with all and everything, while perpetually 
    outside the gossiping sphere? 
    Alone, you have space,
    and the map of the day unfolds.

    But what if it unfolds into a poem,
    and the words open in one small leaf
    beside another and another. And the oak
    grows in a forest, with pines, 
    and yews, and cedars. You’ve climbed
    a new tree where solitude dissolves
    its long dream of innocence.

Origin Stories – Glosa: On Seeing Your Poem Beside the Words of Others

I came across a prompt to write a glosa shortly after seeing my first poem published, in Gyroscope’s Spring 2022 7th Anniversary edition. Still giddy at the sight of my words next to those of other poets, I recognized that the form of a glosa, by incorporating another poet’s lines, offered a useful container for this welcome feeling of belonging. I chose Martin Willis’s “Elegy,” with its images of sparrows and landscape, since, as someone who spent much of her childhood watching birds from high up an oak tree, I could step inside its landscape.

Previous Origin Stories

April 1 – Wanda Praisner

April 2 – Howard Lieberman

April 3 – L. Shapley Bassen

April 4 – Sharon Scholl

April 5 – Stellasue Lee

April 6 – Jeanne DeLarm

April 7 – Virginia Smith

April 8 – Patricia Ware

April 9 – Mary Makofske

April 10 – Ann Wallace

April 11 – Jessica Purdy

April 12 – Lakshman Bulusu

April 13 – Kim Malinowski

April 14 – Anita Pulier

April 15 – Martha Bordwell

April 16 – Anastasia Walker

April 17 – Annette Sisson

April 18 – Shaheen Dil

April 19 – Claudia Reder

Previous NPM celebrations from Gyroscope Review

Let the Poet Speak! 2022

Promopalooza 2021

Poet of the Day 2020

Poets Read 2019

National Poetry Month Interview Series 2018

Book Links Party 2017

Other Links

About National Poetry Month

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