Wednesday, April 17, 2013

“Another New England Winter”
by Nancy Tupper Ling

By February we’re weary.
Four o’clock’s darkness
descends again over
our sterile snow drifts,
trapping us behind doors,
drawn curtains that keep
drafts and neighbors at bay.
Even diehard Yankees wonder
if spring will come.

We’ve faced such dormancy
before: five years waiting
for a tiny life to flower
inside my womb. Then, too,
we shut shades early
against sounds, voices
of nearby children
sledding into our gully,
alone with Mourning.

Come March we notice
first buds unfurling.
We crack our windows,
let in light breezes.
They carry pollen,
fresh and sticky
to our sills.

Reprinted by permission of the poet from her chapbook Coming Unfrozen (Blue Light Press, 2010). The poem also appeared in the anthology After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events

Interview With Nancy Tupper Ling

How did you come to write “Another New England Winter”?

I wrote this poem in winter, a New England winter, when we tend to retreat into our homes, away from our neighbors. I remember listening to the voices of children sledding into the next door gully and that brought me back to a time of great sadness in my life, waiting for years to have our first child. When I wrote, I was emerging out of the darkness of infertility. I felt the renewed hope that comes with spring.

How did writing this poem affect your recovery?

I was on the other side, having emerged from the longing and loneliness of infertility. At last we had our long-awaited child, but it was bittersweet. I didn’t want to forget where I’d come from, or lose the empathy I had for others suffering the same heartache.

Can you tell us something about your process of writing that helped this poem come to life?

More than any other time in my life, words overflowed onto the pages of my journal. Looking back, I know these poems weren’t my best work, but they were a healing work. During this time of crisis and afterwards, I began to submit my poems to the world. One of the hardest things about any life-shattering event is the lack of control. The very process of writing and submitting my work took my mind off of the things I couldn’t control, and brought joy back into my life. Eventually, I collected my published poems into a book called Laughter in My Tent, hoping to reach other couples who battled with the same emotions.

Who are your favorite poets or poets new to you whom you'd recommend to others?

I love so many of the poets in After Shocks. Recently, I discovered Michael Miller’s book, Darkening the Grass, published by CavanKerry Press. What a work of beauty by a man in his eighth decade of life. It gives me hope! Also, being totally biased, I will mention some of my fellow Fine Line Poets: J. Lorraine Brown, JoAnne Preiser, Fran Witham, Marcia Szymanski, Virginia Bradley, and my mom, Jean Tupper. Do I sound like someone receiving her Oscar?

What are you working on now?

So nice of you to ask! I’ve been concentrating on my picture book manuscripts. Also, I am co-authoring a book called Toasts: The Essential Collection of More Than 500 Toasts, Graces, and Blessings with June Cotner. It’s being published by Viva Editions and submissions are welcome to Toasts Anthology.

Nancy Tupper Ling is the winner of the prestigious Writer's Digest Grand Prize and the Pat Parnell Poetry Award. She draws her inspiration from the multicultural background of her family and the interwoven fabric of familial culture which is, on the surface, seemingly everyday. She is the author of My Sister, Alicia May (Pleasant Street Press) and the founder of Fine Line Poets. Currently she resides in Walpole, Massachusetts with her husband, Vincent, and their two girls.

1 comment:

Barbara Younger said...

A lovely poem and interview.