Do you ever read a poem and then, while you're appreciating its resonance, realize that it's not quite hitting the spot—for you? Do you ever want to reply?
A couple of years I had this reaction and wrote a poem. Yesterday, I read a beautiful poem on the Poetry Daily website, "The Continuous Life" by Mark Strand, and I had the same experience.
Here, for what it's worth, is the draft I came up with.
After the Blackberry Season
In the purple light of dusk, where children hide
under lilacs long gone to seed
and watch the grown men and women
on the porch, or in the yellow kitchen, slowly
surrender themselves to the end of the day,
the sound of ice in a glass of tea or gin
and maybe guitars on someone's radio.
Teach your children that lives
wind long, and as much as you don't want to leave
the house, the yard, as much as you've grown to love home,
some days are too short for chores, that the sun will set
a little later each evening and then a little earlier,
that this darkness is only
one of many small leaps and leanings
until night comes finally. Let the mop and the broom
rest in their corner. The cooking and cleaning can wait
at least for this just now, when a rustle of leaves
means it might be time to come in, when conversation
hums with the pleasure of settling still
and watching the shadows deepen
until they can't be seen anymore
and the stars, and the stars