AUTISM: A POEM

This blog has been created as an open experiment of poetry composition, perhaps a glimpse at an emerging manuscript as it matures. This working manuscript should not be considered as complete or published. Instead, this should be viewed as merely an early stage in the process of creation.

I have placed below some of the pages from an isolated venture in one of my typescript loose-leaf folders. The contents here represent portions of an ongoing personal project with a particularly narrow focus intended to eventually develop toward a book-length poetry sequence with the tentative working title of
Autism.

The poem will grow as new sections are added. The individual posts are designed so that they may be viewed as independent items; however, I have consciously carried themes, images, and similar language through the extended sequence with the hope that connectivity and continuity will be preserved among numerous sections of the long poem.

Readers are asked to regard this piece as a work in progress, a partial or rough draft rather than a finished product (even if some selected segments previously may have appeared in print), and I request everyone realize various edits, emendations, or expansion may be made to the posts at any time in the future. Moreover, at some point the entire sequence will be removed to undergo a complete revision.

Therefore, I urge visitors to become followers of the blog by clicking the link in the sidebar, as well as to follow on Twitter for updates. Readers are also invited to browse my personal web site for additional information.

Indeed, a significant part of this experiment involves a certain amount of transparency that includes the possibility for readers to communicate responses and offer constructive suggestions, both of which I welcome through post comments or e-mail messages.


Also, I advise that the order of the numbered sections is not meant to be at all definitive since the long poem’s sequence will certainly be reorganized as the work in this temporary format starts to resemble a completed manuscript and begins to assume a more formal shape that might eventually be suitable for publication. In fact, I welcome interest from book publishers as well.

Thank you for taking the time to examine this trial stage, a test which I perceive as a preliminary process in the composition of a possible poetry manuscript. —Edward Byrne

Thursday, December 1, 2011

AUTISM: A POEM


. . . . . XXXVII. Fall Walk at Forest Park

. . . . . 1

The blade of his body leaning a bit
. . . . . into this stiff breeze, Alex leads

me toward the crab orchard grove
. . . . . where he disappears under cover

of boughs, seems swallowed by late
. . . . . day stains of shade spreading out

from beneath each tree. Somewhere
. . . . . above, a flock of white-crowned

sparrows sounds loudly, suddenly
. . . . . fluttering among a rustle of leaves

stirred anew in every rushing gust.
. . . . . Across that still-damp ground all

around us remain the thin scribbles
. . . . . of smaller branches left last night

by a rainstorm, a few already bare,
. . . . . their outlines configured in twists.


. . . . . 2

They lie as if arthritic on an uncut
. . . . . lawn among twitches of tall grass,

long and wet yet shifting with each
. . . . . fresh drift of air current. The cold

front slips onshore from the lake.
. . . . . My son runs through dark woods

to huddle under those low longer
. . . . . limbs of a willow. Hidden below

their canopy, he again feels safe
. . . . . from swift northern winds, waits

for me to follow and to find him.
. . . . . Though Alex knows these leaves

can’t last much longer, he needs
. . . . . such a brief relief before winter,

hopes for one more chance to hold
. . . . . on to what he has learned to love.

3 comments:

  1. This poem is so moving. And the imagery - "the blade of his body", "... swallowed by late / day stains of shade spreading out", "They lie as if arthritic... twitches of tall grass" - is marvelous. We know the coming of winter is inevitable - your imagery of stiff breezes and swift northern winds a clue - and that dying into winter and the loss it represents is rendered all the more poignant with your image of Alex trying for "one more chance to hold / on to what he has learned to love". Wonderful!

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  2. This is beautifully written, Ed. I agree with all that Maureen stated in her comments. Your imagery, as always, paints a perfect picture and portrait of Alex (Forgive me, but you inspire me to be alliterative). For anyone who has ever seen Alex, "blade" is the perfect word choice to describe his thin, angular frame. I think your liberal use of sibilance throughout the poem suggests the soft soughing or sighing of the wind through the leaves and lends a tone of sadness to the poem that we often feel as nature seems to die just before the onset of winter. I love it!

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