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WHEN POETRY IS PERSONAL... footnotes, background, revelations... PROVIDING KEYS TO LOCKS - Cyndi MacMillan's Blog

About Cyndi MacMillan
(Show Details...)
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Cyndi MacMillan's current projects include three children's book series. Her "life as a writer' blogs can be read at  https://cyndimacmillan.wordpress.com/  Three of her poems have been published in Room magazine, issue 49.4, This Body's Maps, https://roommagazine.com/issues/bodys-map  Two poems have been published in the Prairie Journal ( Issue 67)http://www.prairiejournal.org/subscribe.html   Other poems can be found in Fieldstone Review, Issue 2015 http://www.fieldstonereview.usask.ca/article.php?article=167, Grain Magazine, issue 42.4, Summer 2015, Passed Signs/New Fields http://www.grainmagazine.ca/424  , The Steel Chisel, April 2016, http://www.thesteelchisel.ca/april2016_07.html.  The Centrifugal Eye, Spring 2016, the Unformed issue  http://www.centrifugaleye.com/ . She participated in the 20 Poem Challenge at The Ekphrastic Review: Writing and Art on Art and Writing, and twelve of her poems have been published by the journal.http://www.ekphrastic.net/apps/search?q=Cyndi+MacMillan.

Her fiction has appeared in local newspapers and has won contests. Her short story, Missed Steps, is forthcoming in the Windsor Review. She enjoys reading literary journals, and she is actively pursuing further publication within their glossy covers while writing chapter books and early middle readers.

Poetry soup is a friendly forum which enables people from around the world to share their writing. It has some great resources and provides a nice space for people to connect.

Cyndi lives in a small town in Ontario with her husband, young daughter and far too many books.

.


WHEN POETRY IS PERSONAL... footnotes, background, revelations... PROVIDING KEYS TO LOCKS


Blog Posted:2/10/2013 12:29:00 PM




Su’s most recent blog is thought provoking. Please, read it! Among other things, it calls into question the assumption which poets often make on what is deemed common knowledge.

Now, it got me really pondering what we relay in our verses. I was thinking about the... responsibility?... that poets PUSH onto the readers. Poetry, to me, is meant to be … streamlined. Explanation shouldn't be inserted into a poem, the way some poets force rhyme, sacrificing art for clarity.

If one reads about deep sea diving it should read as the experience of the diver, not as  a step by step guide on how to put on the scuba gear.

When a 13 year old reads Flander's Fields and has no concept of war and its toll, then that youngster must be given the background in order to understand the poem.

We all must have enough of a glimmer to "get it." Sure, some things are universal: love, pain, longing, forgiveness, truth, food and sleep and regret...

And yet I believe everything, all life’s experiences, merit the ability to be preserved, celebrated or lamented, in poetry.

EVERYTHING.

So, where does that leave the poet?

FOOTNOTES!

Please, if I haven’t lost you, read this poem:


Embroidered Dreams

Embroidered dreams pierce one long night,
Your silken floss pulled its invite,
Needles prick the small child in me,
Haunted by shadowed tapestry,
Those knots you made of dark and light.

I watch your hands, so pale and slight,
Lift and plunge with thin strands of white,
Before dawn breaks my heart I see
                                                Embroidered dreams

I sit at your feet, so contrite,
While frayed threads are tugged much too tight,
Each stitch that you left holds snugly,
But what you shaped longs to rip free,
All comes undone and now I write
                                                Embroidered dreams


This is a highly personal poem.

I posted this on soup, entered it into a contest and received some lovely comments in regards to its language.

Now, what this poem is about…

I am dreaming of my mother who was bipolar, at the time called manic depressive.

She loved to embroider and passed this hobby down to me. As a young girl, I often would just sit beside her and watch her motions, fascinated by the process of stitch and knot. Embroidery is an art.

Her condition was hidden from me and I did not understand her mood swings, often violent and frightening. Her emotions were complex and engulfed her family.When manic--- when she was happy--- oh, she was delightful… de-light-filled. Engaging, captivating, sweet and loving.  She was a petite, pretty woman with patrician features. Her hands were doll like, small but with long, dainty fingers.

Then there was my ‘other mother.’ Her anger was terrifying. After trying to kill my father on her 45th birthday, she got drunk and hung herself with an electric cord in a stairwell. I got the call just before dawn. I was devastated by the news. I was there to see the body bag rolled out on a gurney.  I went through her things and donated them to the Salvation Army. I was a teen. It took over 25 years to let go of guilt for not being able to help her.

I loved and still love my mother, regardless of what transpired, the rage, occasional beatings, and the things which she said to me that no child should EVER hear. Decades after her suicide, I still miss her. I battle with memories, try to hold on to the dear ones while letting the horrific ones go. Mothers MOLD us as children and as adults we are apt to examine, closely, who we have become, who we truly want to be.

Bipolar mimics the movements one uses to embroider clothe. Up and down. Down then up. It pierces. The thread can seem pretty at times, frayed and wrought at others. One needs to see the whole picture, looking at it from only the front shows only one side. Turn it around. See the workings, the knots, the frayed ends…

Now, if you have time, please, read my poem again, perhaps a tad slower.
What do you see now?.
What do you know now of its heart?


Embroidered Dreams

Embroidered dreams pierce one long night,
Your silken floss pulled its invite,
Needles prick the small child in me,
Haunted by shadowed tapestry,
Those knots you made of dark and light.

I watch your hands, so pale and slight,
Lift and plunge with thin strands of white,
Before dawn breaks my heart I see
                                                Embroidered dreams

I sit at your feet, so contrite,
While frayed threads are tugged much too tight,
Each stitch that you left holds snugly,
But what you shaped longs to rip free,
All comes undone and now I write
                                                Embroidered dreams


Thoughts? Fire away!

And please read Su's blog! VERY INTERESTING!
Please Login to post a comment
Date: 2/11/2013 1:09:00 PM
I like the way you fit all of the emotions into the rondeau form. B-P is different with each iindividual and meds now are so much more advanced. I have these same dreams for my daughter.
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Grisetti Avatar
Joann Grisetti
Date: 2/11/2013 1:10:00 PM
I like the idea of a weekly interview.
Date: 2/11/2013 11:53:00 AM
@ Cyndi.... The interview idea is great (see my comment at end of this page, please). :-)
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Date: 2/11/2013 9:47:00 AM
Of course Sis, you know I got this the first time...I would for it runs in my family also [thank goodness so far I only have anxiety issues controlled with diet exercise, yoga & meditation]. Back to your original tac .. footnotes etc. I feel the write should grab the reader in such a way that if there are a few things they don't get GOOD that helps them grow! Off they go to research a word! BUT if the write is not evocative, is strictly dry and scholarly most will just stop reading it. Lastly, at certain times of life certain things appeal, what you couldn't get into at 20 might capitivate you at 60. [PS sort my verse for Mother poems & for the word knots]
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Date: 2/10/2013 5:01:00 PM
You have a voracious passion for writing my friend, and your an excellent teacher, but truth be told, I will never be able to express my inner emotions so deeply as you, the more you reveal yourself to me Cyndi, the more I am in awe of you. I want to thank you for your dedicated ways, your courage and your friendship. My grandmother taught me how to slip stitch when I was very young, the memory lasts forever, so will you, in my heart, love xxx
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MacMillan Avatar
Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 2/10/2013 7:14:00 PM
Thank you, lady-with-the-big-heart! And you write deeply with a style and grace which I admire.... your words are always kind and I'm gratefu that you are here on soup, where your gentle outlook and spirit continue to nurture all, and that your poetry always speaks to the heart xox right backatcha
Date: 2/10/2013 4:42:00 PM
This was a heart wrenching confession Cyndi and as you wrote it I can imagine how much you had to let go of so that we could have knowlege of it. Life is confusing at the best of times with moments of beauty and terror; we are expected to react with some degree of normalcy but often that is not possible. Your poem is the testimony of a child's confusion and through it all, enduring love.
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MacMillan Avatar
Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 2/10/2013 7:18:00 PM
Lizzy-Dear, yes, it was all so confusing. My mother taught me many things which contradict the chaos of my childhood. One was honesty, at all costs. We each have stories, a thousand chapters, yes? Some are lovely... some, well.... there is no way to convey an entire life into a poem. Only snipets. Hugs to you. I DOOOO think of you. :)
Date: 2/10/2013 2:34:00 PM
I'm enjoying reading these comments, each with great points. I also understand that each point of view comes with its own history, experiences and interpretations that I can not possibly grasp, unless these are shared with me, as well. Will comment to all personally, later. Dinner calls! Motherhood calls! My family is on the way home ... hugs Cyndi
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Date: 2/10/2013 12:56:00 PM
Cyndi I think I am going to sound a tad trite when I say I knew where you were coming from the first time I read your poem, but that is only because I had ' problems' with both of my parents (both dead now) and you are right, we as the adults do examine ourselves but if you are like me then there are no answers to be extracted. I do have another take on what you are saying because when it comes from to it I would rather 'Show not Tell' where possible I would rather take the risk and make the reader stop and think or even better read it again. I like your poem it does paint a good picture...
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MacMillan Avatar
Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 2/10/2013 7:47:00 PM
Not trite, at all :) I sometimes think the pen just has a mind of its own. I do edit. Rethink a twist of thought, too much of this, not enough of that... I show as much as possible, and (I think) the bottom line is that poetry should first be written to please its author. Or else why write it at all, eh, chum? Hugs to you and the Mrs!
Date: 2/10/2013 12:46:00 PM
Goosebumps! This is so much more powerful once the door is opened and I got to look inside the poem - not just words on a page. Thank you for sharing this very personal history with us. I do think that it illustrates perfectly what I have been trying to communicate in my blog. You just said it so much better. Blessings, Cyndi. Love, Su
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Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 2/11/2013 11:52:00 AM
Maybe we could do the interview Live here... all are invited to ask questions - sticking to the poem.Just thinking out loud here. If you have a look at my Bio here, it kicks off with an interview which was done on me. The standard questions might give you a frame to start off with.... :-)
Richards Avatar
Suzette Richards
Date: 2/11/2013 11:52:00 AM
I think that it is a great idea. But why stop at just new poets. Maybe we could have a weekly "vote" of poems we wish to put up for nomination to be interviewed.
MacMillan Avatar
Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 2/10/2013 7:55:00 PM
Blessings back,Grrrrr, I detest these tiny boxes that (irony here) do not allow chatter boxes, like me!, to wax on. Anyways, lol, blessing backatcha! Hugs!!!! Cyndi
MacMillan Avatar
Cyndi MacMillan
Date: 2/10/2013 7:52:00 PM
Hey, Su, for some time now I've been considering a weekly blog (I do want to start my weekly newsletter again, highlighting the new poets on soup.) I have long thought how cool it would be to take a poem that is obviously layered with meaning and then send the poet questions, and then post the "interview." I can see some liking this, and some hating it, big time ;-)

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11/18/2016 WE, NASTY WOMEN Ekphrasisallegory,history,politica
5/22/2016 THE CHRONICLES OF A PHONOPHOBIC Free versefear,life,people,
5/6/2015 TAIL SPIN, REVISED Free versecourage,fear,love hurts,
11/10/2014 CHAN Free versefriend,goodbye,
1/31/2014 JOURNEY COMPANIONS: THE FRIEND SONNETS PART II Sonnetfriend,hero,places,poetry
1/29/2014 DIVINE STEEPLES Sonnetfriend,love,places,poetry
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Surrender to Love Rhymeloveme,
A Totum Pole Ode Concretenative american,people,
MORE DREAMS TO ROW Rhyme royalinspirational,life,
When the Tab Comes Due Free verseinspirational,introspecti
Lighting My Candle From Within Quintain (English)caregiving,introspection,
The Kirk by the Sea Coupletnostalgia,religion,love,
Moonlight on the Ward Chokahealth,life,
Nocturnal Poetry Rhymeimagination,life,poetry,
Slumber Epicdedication,epic,slam,
FROSTY NIGHT STROLL Coupletinspirational,seasons,
Our Thanksgiving Light Poetryholiday,
Tomorrow's Grace Ethereepeace,
A New Star Shines Above Hawaii Rhymededication,music,
Monarch of Summer Haibunanimals,devotion,inspirat
Untouched Rhymeforgiveness,me,me,
Beaucoup Blooms Terza Rimanature,spring,spring,
On Heaven's Doorway Narrativeinspirational,life,care,c
WALKING ON FAITH Versefaith,for children,
Sleepless Nights Narrativeangst,imagination,mystery
Another Face Rhymelost love,
Paired Parings Balladchildhood,
AUTUMN'S SPLENDOROUS BEAUTY Quatrainnature,autumn,autumn,
friend to friend Haikupeople,philosophy,
Calligraphy Verseon writing and words,
Cyndi Sonnetdedication,
Night Comes Rhymetime,
Without Hope's Gleam Terzanellehope,flower,flower,joy,pa
When Your Dead YOUR Dead Rhymefriendship,love,wife,
after my prayer Haikuinspirational,
Chamber Music Chopped Blank versemusic,
Down Fall Italian Sonnetbeautiful,miracle,nature,
God Forbid Coupletangst,devotion,write,life
To Kashinath and Cyndi Rhymededication,devotion,frien
CHERISHED Sonnetlove,peace,
Live the Cliches Free versedream,hope,love,poetry,in
Bliss State Quatrainfaith,
A tribute to Leonora G Dramatic Versedeath,deep,epic,evil,sorr
IN THE MOOD Light Poetryadventure,woman,
A Reminder: To Be Free versetruth,writing,
SWITCH magazine Free versededication,hope,life,love
Westward Movement Free versedevotion,love,peace,
The Rocking Chair Rhymechild,christmas,sister,
To the Rescue Rhymesnow,
Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis Epicabuse,analogy,corruption,
To Love Myself Sonnetlove,new year,self,
The Byway Rhymecare,
Onward Christian Soldiers Rhyme 
BEYOND TEARS Rhymechild,encouraging,hope,
Dewberry Cobbler Haibungrowing up,
Release Free verseencouraging,grief,hope,st
IN STILLNESS Free versechange,life,
Within Reason- Maurice Yvonne and Seren Roberts Verselife,
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