An old poem revisited: Ghost Hand

The idea of something I wrote a long time ago came to mind last week, and I spent a few hours writing it anew from my recollection of the images that had inspired it. I came across the original while cleaning and have reworked the poem, incorporating some words and ideas that I had forgotten. It still feels pretty rough to me, so I’d welcome suggestions or feedback.

Ghost Hand

I left beside the trail
in shallow grave the withered remains of love
untimely lost
I let white-iron truth sear
hope into healing
scar tissue

Today the specter drops through the mail slot
lies faintly aglow in the foyer’s dim twilight
I recognize the hand
blocky script small and neat among the bills
scattered on the flagstones

Fingers of pain close around my heart:
why won’t one so long gone
let me forget
what took such time to forgive?

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2 responses to “An old poem revisited: Ghost Hand

  1. speeeeeech-less. I seriously love this and though you might think it rough, it says exactly what it’s supposed to be saying (at least to me). It makes me feel your pain, the shock, the recall…makes me wonder who and what. It does what it set out to do! I find it awfully hard to critique poetry anyway. I can go to town on prose, but to me, poetry is so succinctly raw that it’s difficult to say “this could be better” or “that was horrible”, or even “that was nice”.. I know there’s a craft to it, style, line breaks, pauses, While I took many poetry classes, critiqued it, analyzed it, savored it, I never felt comfortable doing anything but reading it and either loving it and relating to it or not loving it and not relating to it. Does that make sense? I love this one, relate to it. I want to read more of your poetry. That says a lot, because I’m not one to sit and idly read poetry. 🙂 I know, I’m no help in your process, but I’m one of your biggest fans! 🙂

    • Jennifer Barricklow

      Very clever – how can I be annoyed that you aren’t any help with my process when you’re one of my biggest fans? ;-D

      Seriously, thank you for your feedback. My hope as a poet is that the reader will connect with what I’ve written, even if she comes away with a completely different impression than the one I meant to convey. I’m very much in Robert Frost’s camp that way: who cares what the writer intended so long as you, the reader, got something out of it?

      For my part, I don’t put anything out there that I’m not willing to have criticized. I wouldn’t ask what people think if I weren’t willing to hear what they’ll say. I realize that not all writers operate that way, but I hope no one ever holds back something useful for fear it might hurt my feelings.

      As a side note, poetry is biographical in the same way that fiction is. That is to say, you can’t write poetry/fiction about something you don’t have any personal experience with, but that doesn’t mean that the resulting poetry/fiction is necessarily representational of that experience. It’s what makes us poets/fiction writers so mysterious and alluring. (Snort!)

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