Brooks and Prompts

Narrows Brook runs behind my house and I see it from the upstairs bathroom window, the kitchen sink window and the back bedroom windows.   I can hear the water hum from my deck or on summer nights through the screened windows.  I take a lot of photographs of this brook because I run by it almost every day I run.  I write a lot about this brook, because I’m so often prompted into my poetry through my senses, most commonly what I see, with what I hear coming in second.

In the last several months, I’ve been in a few gatherings of poets where we work with prompts — everyone throwing out two words to use in a poem, or describing the relationship between randomly selected objects, or bouncing out of someone else’s poem to write our own take on the subject.  I’m loving this.  It’s getting me out of my own fairly self-limited point of view and helping me write poems that stretch subject, perspective, images and language.

Which brings me back to Narrows Brook.  I live near it, so it shows up a lot in my poetry, and when I see it and start thinking about a poem in response, I say to myself, “it’s the same damn brook.”  Here is that line, from a poem that’s in The Truth About Death, but this last stanza didn’t make the cut.  On the blog, not in the book.  Still the same brook.

I am dutiful, it scares me, the 3. definition of demon
is zealous, skillful, diligent. I can’t stop, one for two.
It’s a choice, the dropping of the dam in spring,
the brook is full and beautiful, it’s the same damn brook.

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About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
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One Response to Brooks and Prompts

  1. I love running water – everything water and a brook is the only thing missing on the nursery/farm where I live and work. I’m glad to hear of your sensuous brook and all the poetry flowing with it. Enjoy. Andrea

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