Reflections/poem biography for Museum Offering
seed fern sarah james smaller

“This fossil alters the shape of my palm.
Flesh moulds to its mineral coldness,”

The simple but beautiful seed fern fossil is a key example of something that puts the smallness of each individual life into perspective. More of it remains, and recorded so beautifully in stone, than is ever likely to be found of me that many millions of years later.

In some ways, this poem also echoes back to ‘Elliptic’. Cold stone set in contrast to warm, loud, continuing current life; the holding of mankind or personal history in the hand as a reminder of the importance of life, and making the most of that life.

Electric Questions - lit version smallerDiscussion Point

This poem is structured in 4-line stanzas with a final concluding couplet (all non-rhyming). Does this change in structure at the end of the poem work? Why? What are the general advantages and pitfalls of a concluding couplet, or a final stanza that is half the length of a poem’s other regular length stanzas?

Inspiration/Writing Prompt

Close your hand to a fist. Now open it. Imagine something is revealed in your palm, be it a physical object, your lifeline, a scar… What inspiration, narrative or insights might this imagined ‘thing’ evoke? How? Why? Where did it come from? And what do you do with it next?

plentyfish cover (1)At poetry readings, I often enjoy hearing about the background to a particular poem. ‘Wednesday Reflections/Sometimes I smile’ is my attempt to share the inspiration, frustrations, pain, philosophies and thoughts that lie behind my poetry collection ‘plenty-fish’. Each Wednesday, this blog will contain one of these ‘poem biographies’, as well as points for potential reader discussion and also writers’ prompts. My collection ‘plenty-fish’ may be bought from Nine Arches Press, here, or my website, here. More Wednesday Reflections on other poems in the collection can also be found here.