Sunday, October 23, 2011

Reading the Skimino Cycle

I've tried to write each of the poems in "The Skimino Cycle" in such a way that each can stand alone and is not dependent on the context of the whole for meaning and value.  But, each is also part of a larger story, particularly those that revolve around the lives of John and Mary Ratcliffe.  I also have not attempted to write in a linear, chronological fashion, with each new poem written and posted following the previous poem in time.  As a result, I jump around in time as my creative juices flow and the words come to mind.  For instance, I recently wrote and posted "John and Mary, 1873."  This poem, which is set just prior to their separation and divorce, came along years after I wrote poems set in the years after their divorce.

So, for those who want to read these poems in a chronological manner, here's the order, from furthest back in time to most contemporary (the year in which the poem is set is in parentheses).  The bulk of the poems-- those set in the 1850s-1882, including "Separated in Death, Even As In Life," focus on John and Mary Ratcliffe.

Cypress Boards (1805)
John and Harriett, 1837 (1837)
This Prairie is Life (1855)
The Mountains Were My Meetinghouse (1855)
On This Cold Southern Field (1862)
John and Mary, 1873 (1873)
The Glass (1876)
They Rode on Borrowed Horses (1876)
John's Lament (post-1876)
The Wheatfield (1876)
She Will Not Thirst Again (1882)
Separated in Death, Even as in Life (no particular time, but post-1882.  I was at the cemetery in 2005.)
Skimino (2001/2002)
Grass (2000s)
Spring Soil (2000s)
The Homestead (2005)
The Homestead, Part 2 (2005)
Moel Siabod (2009)

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