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Formation of an Idea (A Poem)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: An experimental poem that I wrote quite a bit ago, and which eventually got expanded into a whole interactive tale called, “The Castle of Countless Compositions,” posted on DeviantArt. It’s fun how certain ideas develop in unexpected ways.]

I needed a caretaker for an old castle

   long abandoned                then claimed by vines

       where few dared to venture—

            aside from certain protagonists all set

                to explore its labyrinthine corridors

                         and discover its untold secrets

The perfect character…

             …I paced and thought

                                                        paced and thought

                        paused and groaned

                               because nothing sprang to mind

I decided to take a break at noon

           for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

           and padded down the hallway

           to my kitchen…

                                            …when a Formless, Discreet Idea  

                                                   began to follow me

                                                       quietly

                                                                       and patiently

Patience…         

          An important trait

                                              for a caretaker to have

The Formless, Discreet Idea

      maintained a polite distance behind me

           its footfalls so light on the carpet

                 I barely heard a sound

                                   . . .Perhaps they would be just as light

                                                 across wooden              or stone floors

                        . . . and I imagined a calm      whispery voice say,

                                              “You always eat at this hour.

                                                You must eat at this hour,

                                                or your schedule will fall apart.

                                                Routine is crucial.”

                         . . . which was when the Formless, Discreet Idea

                                              turned into a Formless, Methodical Idea

I offered my composed guest a sandwich

        but it declined            on the grounds that it had never needed to eat before

                       . . . something that seemed right for a caretaker devoted

                                                              to an otherwise abandoned old castle

                                                                                deep in willowy woods

                                 . . .almost like a spirit

                                                                   haunted by memories

                                                     who grew irritated and flickered bright red

                                                         when I dropped a bit of grape jelly

                                                                     onto the countertop

                                                                then brushed me aside to wipe it up

                                                                               with a moistened paper towel

A Methodical, Spirit of Cleanliness Idea who

    as she wiped at the spot (and then moved onto the entire surface)

       developed the vague semblance of a woman

             the texture and hue of a fog at dusk

                   her misty hair tied up into a tight bun at the back of her head

                               although two strands had escaped and drifted (as if through water)

                                            on either side of her face

                                     Her eyes were two points of golden light in darkness

                                                 and she wore an apron around a dress

                                                          that disappeared into a light cloud of steam

                                                                     at the very bottom

                                                                           . . .and a character now drifted before me

She straightened and offered a curtsy

    “How do you do?” her voice was like an echoing well

                              “Please call me Lucia Brume.”

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16 thoughts on “Formation of an Idea (A Poem)

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