Poet of the Month
Every month Moon Tide Press features a different poet to celebrate and bring readership to deserving, diverse voices.
If you are interested in being featured as a Poet of the Month, or want to nominate a poet, please contact email@example.com.
Mia Vance is an emerging poet pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing at the University of Oregon, Eugene, where she currently lives with her husband, son, and two cats. One of the founding members of the Eugen-based poets’ collective The Dead Parrots Society, Mia has performed her poetry solo, in collaboration with local dance performance groups, and alongside her husband, the incredible composer/musician Cullen Vance. When not studying, writing, or performing, Mia can be found tucked away with a skein of yarn or a good book in the comfiest chair in the house. In lieu of popping by for tea, visit her at www.facebook.com/mia.v.poetry.
THE POET AS GARDNER; OR HOW TO GROW A POEM AT HOME IN 6 STEPS
Select yourself a vessel
something right-sized and inviting
(ceramic perhaps, or terracotta)
pretty of color and plenty of room
Make yourself a space
Someplace cozy and uncluttered
a window, god willing, and pillows aplenty
dependable desk chair, and copious light
Provide your poem with adequate air
a generous venue for growth
Cultivate the season’s soil
enrich this foundation with last season’s toil
Dare to dirty your beautiful nails
And turn up the earth with your hands
Permit yourself to dig
Go deep beneath your surface, it is worth it, I swear
so be patient, lay the groundwork now,
and the grace will come in time
For if poetry is the food of love, then time
is the most important meal of the day
Now choose what you will grow
flora, fruit, or even herbs – but hurry!
While your lungs are young and fertile
plant your garden; plant your seeds
these little insights everywhere!
Sprinkle or bury them in ink and on paper and
you’ll thank yourself tomorrow
for the seeds you sow right now
Remember, your poem may grow to move mountains
and maybe the mountain is you
Nurture what you’ve made
Meet your seedling’s keenest needs:
thirsting for water, longing for light
It needn’t take much, but the impact is vast
Tend tenderly yourself as well
for you also are worthy of nourishing
A little goes a long long way
drink water; take your meds
And when you cannot face the great white wall
of blank pages, take a walk
Not all buds will blossom
not every branch will bear fruit
the most prudent among us keep pruning shears
close to them, willing to cut what they must
This might just be the hardest part, love
to sever the things that don’t serve you
that never deserved you, that stunt your growth
to do what you know is best for the both of you
Yes, kill your darlings, dear, just not all of them
and give them a beautiful wake
Reap the season’s yield
paltry or plentiful, sickle and scythe
with a tithe set aside for the ancients and old gods,
and enough left to last through the cold, for the lucky ones
Bless the sweat of your brow
Exalt your aching bones, your calloused hands
Lay the glory of all of the fruits of your labor at table
with places for each of your friends for the feast
And tuck all their love into jars in your larder
kept safely to sow into poems come spring
A tree fell in the woods, and I am six hundred years too late
to hear the sound she made; but I have heard the spines
of pine trees break enough times now to almost understand.
She watched six hundred hunter moons grow full, ripen and empty
while she lay this way, with roots exposed, outstretched on forest floor
before a cone-kin found the hollow of her throat and sprouted.
The first of them to fall bore up the smaller: named herself ‘nurse’
and called the other ‘daughter’. Ring by ring, six hundred springs,
the seedling grew, each root enfolding, holding on as sapling waxed
and mother waned, decayed; and all that remains
is a giant that stood on the back of the giant before her
and the space underneath where the nurse-ghost is;
space just enough for one little poet to sit and play seed in,
to metaphor herself into the story, six centuries of spruce above,
six hundred years too late.
Six feet away stands my grandmother: half-ghost, snow-peaked,
fingers laced behind her, eyes upturned like midday daisies,
smile uncurling like ferns. She turns to me:
barley moon, blooming, a cone of my own caught in my throat.
She says of the ancient pair, “I wonder which one I am,”
and a twig snaps somewhere deep in the rings of my ribcage.
She is the giant who bore up the giant who bore me,
who bear up my own. She is a whole forest of old growth;
that is the size of the space she will leave when she’s gone.