On My Way to Autumn

Reprinted from a journal entry dated October 10, 2010

This is the first entry of my rambling thoughts…something that has been long in my mind to do. I settle here at the pine table table with the lamp on a evolving gray day in autumn. Not far from me two sons are creating quite a breakfast feast, our two cats are looking out the window while grabbing the last of the morning sun. A mug of coffee gets sniffed by one of them as they stroll across my table on their way to a soft warm spot to sleep, sounds of a football game coming from the living room adds to our family’s Sunday morning’s sounds.

It has taken a long time for autumn to actually arrive-it finally did two nights ago when the chill in the house stayed until midday. It has been quite warm this year-even the fall colors in 80 degree sunshine seemed out of place. But now it is coming and the winds have stirred. Aspen gold has come and soon to be gone-carpeting the yellow green grass. The apples have begun to drop, and what has not been eaten by the deer will be picked up and tasted for possibilities. Our farmers markets are now gone; the wind whips at their stalls from across the lake as they pack up their season-saying “so long” to them..never a good bye. They will be back in the spring green and warm sun.

And so I am on my way to autumn as an excerpt from my poem below suggests. Each year it seems a different way is created unlike the previous year:

“On my way to autumn,
I hear echoes of carefree music and joyous breath
still dancing on our weathered and wind drifted beach,
and into the first brush of winter’s coming.”

Writing what I experience-not what I know…exactly

I write free verse only; I am partial to the flow of eloquent and rich language. I cannot rhyme or do metered poetry or sonnets-it reminds me of teaching language arts daily to my students at school.  I do not care for writing prompts set up by someone else’s idea of what a writing subject should be. My writing “prompts” come from observing details of the world around me, what I am seeing in the moment, what I am feeling or what I have remembered from an experience in my life.  As an example, in the poem The Wedding Ring Quilt, there is a direct relationship between my words and my writing what I have experienced…not exactly the typical writer’s mantra of “write what you know”:

THE WEDDING RING QUILT

This morning, the first snow of spring

kept falling like a curtain of lace across the mountains,

spilling remnants of winter

down into the stunted pine brushed valley.

“I hope it snows six feet,” I said.

Warm, weathered hands

gathered our wedding ring quilt

around the curve of me,

knowing the soft why of my words.

Why Anna Blake Godbout and how did this journey begin?

I have called the Colorado Rockies my home with my family for almost 30 years. Always having a camera and journal in hand love spending time in the mountains and at the sea, and places in between. I am known to family, friends and colleagues as Nancy Godbout Jurka. Anna Blake Godbout is a combination of my middle name, my grandmother’s maiden name and my maiden name. I wanted to keep my writing life separate from my professional teaching career. This writing journey began 15 years ago. In the winter of 1997, I wrote my first poem. Actually, it was a running track to tell a friend from Boston what it was like to live in Colorado while sitting in a traffic jam one January morning on I-25 staring at Pikes Peak. Searching like a mad woman in my school bag for pen and paper, words began to spill out and I could not get them written down fast enough. I was afraid I would forget them as fast as they came. Writing a poem for me is not a goal-oriented activity. It has been a continual process of discovering who I am and for me I cannot do that in writing a novel-at least not yet.  I have discovered that my words can have an immediate and long lasting impression on those that read them; something that is expressed when one feels the same way as I do and can’t or won’t write them down. While writing a poem can be in be a most intimate and satisfying experience, how it touches a reader’s heart and  life is the most important and gratifying tribute I could have as a writer.

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