Reading Bruce Holsapple’s new book, Wayward Shadow, I was struck by the line “It’s the way you fix yourself in place.” It made me stop to think about how each of us does that. I thought, I’d like to explore that idea in a poem of my own.

It seemed an idea that would benefit from repetition, which led me to consider using the villanelle form, which led me to looking through Holsapple’s book for a possible second line. Instead I found two fragments.

I still thought I would be writing a poem about myself, but I began to see in the lines that came to mind echoes of the ideas that permeate Wayward Shadow. It may be that the way I “fix myself in place” happens to be similar to Bruce’s. In the end, I felt I had captured something of the persona in his book. So this is now a villanelle for Bruce Holsapple.

In Place

Using lines from Wayward Shadow

Climb a mountain, formulate a phrase:
you settled on these deeds because you knew
it’s the way you fix yourself in place.

Life has taught you this. There will be days
when energy is slow to waken to
climb a mountain, formulate a phrase.

Outside and in you need to claim your space.
Shop, fill the fridge, set simmering a stew,
it’s the way you fix yourself in place.

Record the colors on the high rock’s face.
It’s a sure antidote for feeling blue
to climb a mountain, formulate a phrase.

A sentence to rewrite, steps to retrace?
What circles is the animal in you:
it’s the way you fix yourself in place.

As these familiar actions work to raise
your spirits, you may wonder why so few
climb a mountain, formulate a phrase.
It’s the way you fix yourself in place.

If you’d like to get to know the real Bruce Holsapple, Wayward Shadow is available on Amazon.

 

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