See Tupelo Press to read the poems for March 12, 2014 by scrolling down to “Day 12/Poems 12” and of course, to read my poem, Dreamcatcher / by John C. Mannone.
Backstory to “Dreamcatcher”
I had just finished reading a few poems from Kimberly L. Becker’s collection, The Dividings (WordTech Communications (January 2014) while at a Chinese restaurant for lunch. A cleverly crafted ars poetica, “Securing the Line,” involves the metaphor—the poet snaring words, as a spider capturing prey.
When I read the foretelling of the day in fortune cookie: “your present plans are going to succeed,” I took it that my challenge to write a poem for today would be to echo Becker’s approach (with the proper attribution, of course). It’s been a while since I wrote an ars poetica anyway. My plan was to find another animal/insect, a different setting, and different expressions. When I thought of birds, especially eagles, then eagle feathers and finally dreamcatchers, the poem shifted directions. (I suppose I was influenced by Becker, being Cherokee, who wrote her collection about Indian culture.)
I started writing the poem by capturing the salient features of the legend of a “spider woman” and describing how a dreamcatcher looks. But I knew I was going to have to find some context, some literary depth, for which I had no clue.
Eventually, in two separate waves of thought, it came to me, two wholly different extensions: one very macroscopic (the world) and the other very entro-scopic (the narrator), which hinted at the socio-economic political climate of the world and hinted at the very personal world of the narrator, resp. (Perhaps both could use more development.)
The structure originally was 6-7-6 line verses, which unfolded to tercets with a strong central line. I think there are several strong line breaks:
the world is asleep/to crimes against humanity
Can we not be as/little children
monsters lurking under the bed/of their imagination
with images/of you
If this poem is successful, then it should be considered part of Sacred Flute, a collection of poetry infused with Indian culture, legend and history, as is the March 2 poem, “A Self Portrait.”
See also the Legend of the Dreamcatcher which influenced this poem: