23 August 2017

This is how it goes with poems.

I wanted to write something about the solar eclipse. It took a couple of days, and honestly, I’m still not sure I’m done.

First I tried to write from a Tweetspeak Poetry prompt about a flying machine from the point of view of the machine. So I wrote a series of haikus about a plane seeing the solar eclipse, thinking about my friend Laura Brown, who was flying during the eclipse. Laura’s pictures were great—my poem wasn’t. I erased the whole thing.

Then my husband sent me a map of the next solar eclipse in 2024, that will pass directly over Texas. I tried to write another series of haikus about that, mainly because I’ve never seen a national map noting both Piedras Negras and Killeen. That one didn’t do much for me either.

As I was falling asleep, I typed a single haiku into my phone.

It was not the end
of the world. Only darkness
only for a time.

I wrote it out by hand the next morning in my journal and thought about the obvious symbolism of darkness and light. About circumstances that seemed to be the end of the world, but weren’t. And then I thought about how after the temporary darkness I found the sunny side of my life and have been shining along, for the most part, until recent events conspired to block my brightness. Then I wrote a new series of haiku (with a few forays into Google, to doublecheck astronomical facts and the exact wording of Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise”). I still may like my single haiku best, but here ’tis.

Most days I shine — sun
set in slow orbit (by time
not speed). I let them

think I rise and fall.
But today, briefly, you crossed
me, dimmed, blocked my bright

with totality —
blunt and brusque totality —
Still I’ll rise. I rise.



  1. I think they’re both great!

  2. It was fun to go on this journey of discovery with you.
    Still I’ll rise. I rise. 🙂

    Yes, The 2024 eclipse will pass directly over Maine, too.

  3. No words came to me after the eclipse, but I knew it would prompt words from somewhere that would come my way. Both of these are wonderful, Megan.

  4. Oh, this is good, Megan.

  5. I have a SECOND comment! I added the haiku you typed on your phone as you were falling asleep to a journal I’ve been keeping for five years through a particular experience. I don’t know if anything public will come of that journal, but I might need to come back and ask permission to include it. 🙂

  6. This is how it goes with poems, YES! Thanks as always for sharing your process. Love both~the second seems to me, quite profound.

  7. I like them both