First Spark

When I was in third grade, Sister Carmelita asked us to open our English books to a page whose words would introduce me to a land of magical possibilities.  The poem started with these words:

“October gave a party/and everything was gay!”

At least that’s how I remembered it for years.  The actual poem is here:

Fall in San Francisco

Fall in San Francisco

From there, the lines painted images of joyous movement, intense colors, and of trees dressed in “crimson”.  I wondered what that was, crimson.  It sounded so luscious, so extraordinary to my eight year old ear.  I could feel the exuberance of an Autumn party, though I didn’t know what all of the words in the poem meant.   I was vibrating with exhilaration by the poem’s end and knew then that I, too, wanted to write and make others feel the way this poem had lifted me out of the classroom into another realm.  Poetry, in its vivid imagery, its simplicity, and its personification had called me to the land of enchantment.

Now, as an adult, living in the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles, words like opossum and hawk are as rare and exotic as crimson was to me as a child.   So I linger in those places where I can capture them in the lines and rhythms of life where they still exist.

Almost Autumn


Bluegill dressed in gold scales

Speak softly in shallow pools

To raindrops freshly fallen

On Tuttle Creek in Kansas.

Communicate your wanderings

across the hills and scrub

of coyotes, of opossum

foraging round the woods.

Did you see the hawk fly?

Did you warn the ducks?

Or had they left already

South with all their flocks?

Gather round the rocks with us

and lift us to new vistas;

be as one, as we with water

amuse us with calm whispers.

By Claire Koehler

August 21, 2013

2 thoughts on “First Spark

    • Thank you for your kind reply. I’ve noticed on your blog, that words have emotional depth, and healing properties. I’ll definitely keep reading to What Happens to Us.

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