Blog, Poems, poetry, Poetry Classroom

Poetry Classroom: The Wait


Poetry Hair

Welcome to this month’s poetry classroom, with poet Daniel Bowman, author of A Plum Tree in Leatherstocking Country. We invite you to respond to the poems we’ll share here—their forms, images, sounds, meanings, surprises—ask questions of Dan and each other, and write your own poems along the way.

Walking The Wait

November sits in the cupboard
with the tinfoil and sandwich bags.
It’s after dusk.
I’m riding in the back seat,
down the back roads.

Some houses are dark.
Some have on light on
and I can’t help wondering
who is doing what in that light.

The snow makes me sleepy.
There’s a dream:
a woman with plum-black hair—
a bit of a local celebrity—
standing at the sink.
Without looking in the mirror,
she cups her hands,
fills them with warm water.
I am small.
I swan dive
from the tip of her nose
into her pool and open my eyes,
floating on the wait.

November straddles plum-black fields.
November waits for me,
its shadows like dreams in the dry stubble.

Photo by M Aze, Creative Commons, via Flickr. Poem by Daniel Bowman.


Buy a year of Every Day Poems, just $5.99 — Read a poem a day, become a better poet. In May we’re exploring the theme Swans, Swallows, Phoenix.

Every Day Poems Driftwood

Your Comments

11 Comments so far

  1. Beautiful imagery. “I am small. / I swan dive /….”: wonderful!

  2. I just plain like this.

  3. Dan says:

    By the way, this poem was interpreted visually in the book trailer. I’d love to hear any thoughts on the relationship between the poem and this visual representation/adaptation. Thanks!


  4. L.L. Barkat says:

    this poem does something that the greatest poems do…

    suggest. And yet. One could deny what is being suggested. Which is so fun.

    I would love to know if you chose the words consciously or unconsciously.

    Riding, back seat, cups, straddles, stubble. Perfectly sensual choices.

    • Dan says:

      Thanks for that. On the scale between thinking and feeling, I almost always land waaaay down on the feeling side. I’m much more of an intuitive poet than a cerebral one. Also, the poem is an older one, and I was not as aware of my own processes and emerging concerns and style. All of which is to say, those would certainly have been unconscious choices. :)

  5. Marcy Terwilliger says:

    I love the way the words move, old words we don’t often use like, the cupboard and tinfoil. Plum-Black fields and hair sound so romantic as if he’ll go back for her one day. I enjoyed this, it was lovely.

    • Dan says:

      Thanks for saying so! There is a certain kind of hazy, romantic movement in the poem, and some of that is achieved though the plum-black of the woman’s hair and of the fields. A merging into the natural, maybe.

  6. Ann Kroeker says:

    I’m glad that you work at my husband’s alma mater, at the school my daughter will attend this fall. I’m glad you’re there helping hopeful writers dream dreams and play with words, images, ideas. I suspect she longs to move into a world of dreams, but struggles to step outside the concrete, literal world of her five senses…the world of worn gray carpet, toothpaste blobs at the bottom of the bathroom sink, and wilted pansies hanging limply over the edge of the flower box.

    • Dan says:

      Ann, thank you so much for joining the conversation here and adding some lovely words.

      (And I’m thrilled to learn that your daughter will be coming in the fall! Please feel free to email me any time if you’d like to chat or need anything at all in that regard.)

Share with our Community

Post a comment

Take How to Read a Poem

Get the Introduction, the Billy Collins poem, and Chapter 1

How to Read a Poem by Tania Runyan

Free with tweet

Subscribe to our newsletter

Grab the Quote a Day Widget


Poetry for Life? Here's our manifesto on the matter...

Poetry for Life: The 5 Vital Approaches

Help make it happen. Post The 5 Vital Approaches on your site!

Learn to Write Form Poems

Whether or not you end up enjoying the form poem, we've seen the value of building your skills through writing in form.

One reader who explored the villanelle was even featured in Every Day Poems!

How to Write a Ballad

How to Write a Catalog Poem

How to Write a Ghazal

How to Write a Haiku

How to Write an Ode

How to Write a Pantoum

How to Write a Sestina

How to Write a Sonnet

How to Write a Villanelle

They Bring Poetry for Life

Meet our wonderful partners, who bring "poetry for life" to students, teachers, librarians, businesses, employees—to all sorts of people, across the world.

All top
I am

© 2015 . Powered by WordPress.

Daily Edition Theme by WooThemes - Premium WordPress Themes