I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

13 April 2015

Arguing with Joan Didion

“Grammar is a piano I play by ear.”
Best way to play it — but
there are those who have no ear.

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
And in order to avoid living.
In order to run away.

“I closed the box and put it in a closet.
There is no real way to deal with everything we lose.”
There is writing. There is always writing.
(Perhaps there is only writing.)

“I don't know what I think until I write it down.”
Me too — can’t argue with this.

“It occurs to me that we allow ourselves to imagine 
only such messages as we need to survive.” 
If that is so, some of us clearly need 
the vast and wide-ranging, 
the wild and fantastical.

“When I am near the end of a book, 
I have to sleep in the same room with it.” 
The book you are writing, or the one you are reading? 
I always sleep in the same room as those I am reading.

 “Time is the school in which we learn.” 
Yes? … yes, I guess so …  yes, I see … yes.

The 13th prompt for 'Poems in April' at 'imaginary garden with real toads' is to be inspired by one or more of the above quotes from Joan Didion. They are imteresting quotes in themselves, but I thought them too prosey to use for poetry — or perhaps it's just too late at night — and I took issue with most of them. That seemed to be the only poem I was likely to get.


  1. Cool, you took them all and commented and made them yours.

  2. Oh gosh! This is absolutely amazing :D
    You managed to include all the quotes and create a sort of debate in such a wonderful way :D
    This proves you are highly talented :)

  3. Oh this is very clever. I love this conversation. Very original response to the prompt. I agree with all of your responses! Especially "(Perhaps there is only writing.)"

  4. I like your take on this. Felt like I was inside your head. Thanks, Mosk

  5. Perhaps there is only writing. okay. you seemed less anxious than Joan ever did! good for you.

  6. I enjoyed your repartee with Didion.

  7. A dialectic from within full lives, and therefore a learning time, a bit of fun.

  8. Rosemary, this is amazing. You took each quote and placed yourself in it. Writing, yes there is always writing. It has saved me so many times these past few years. Thank you so much for taking part in the challenge.

  9. This was a fun argument, Rosemary. Perhaps if Didion will read this (I hope she reads some to the really good ones that you better writers have written) she might want to have a rebuttal. Especially the last, there wasn't a context for us to place it. I did though, think it was one she was reading. That's because what little I have to do with books is mostly reading so that is what my mind tells me.

  10. Bravo, this is so clever!!

  11. Nice structure for this prompt. I have one bio that reads: I write poetry by ear like a musician who doesn’t read notes can still play music.

  12. I *like* that you took issue with them. Cool. ~

  13. Thanks to you all. I am (pleasantly) surprised at the comments describing this as clever. I was really just pretty much blurting out whatever came to mind in response to each quote. There was very little crafting. I'm glad it all worked.

  14. I love your approach to this Rosemary!! Each quote and response is a gem and I'm with those that think it's clever and I think that your approach...blurting what first came to mind...that is often the most appropriate and genuine words that will come...the 'right' words. ♥

  15. I love the approach that you took to this!

  16. You tackled them all! These are great, Rosemary. :o)