Thursday, May 11, 2006


First (rough) Draft:

You were promise, curving
like the round of my belly
as light through crystal,
yellow to green to blue.

You were my secret, spilling
like sand from the bend of my elbow
into the way my hair tickled your face
as I lifted you.

Or was it you that lifted me?

You were hope,
now more than ever beyond grasp,
with a smile too wise to acknowledge death
and recognition in your eyes.

Yes, you were promise
like dew in the boughs of the willow
curving always away.

The following poem is the one I posted about that sparked the internal conversation regarding plagiarism, and the poem I've posted above. I've emboldened the nine words that sent my mind on a tangent. As you can see, the poems are vastly different, and address a different subject matter altogether, yet, this poem will never feel like my own because it is so completely the offspring of the weather, on Sunday. The title is linked directly to the poem in its original context at Moontown Cafe.

the weather, on Sunday
by duchess

night air has draped itself around us like an envious world.
but we are
otherwise engaged within

you have seen the swirls
curving round between our secret
in through me
, out of you

for some reason, we had one.

i see another summer from our separate houses:
perfecting the art of being
seemingly present.
living out of windows, listening on
the breeze.

i can still hear your thoughts from this place.

if love were water
i'd be walking on yours.

i'll let you

dress me. undress me.

show me intention and that of the winds.

do not permit me to leave you.

let the weather change your life.

i know you have

been picturing yourself here
above me, below me.
trying to recall just how it is i move

who i am, how i got this way.

the taste of me
at different times of day
in various spots along a vertical drop.

no previous viewings of undilluted me
had ever made someone do those things
let alone be brave enough
to think they could hold me

while on fire and burning.

i want you to grab my hair on Sunday
Monday Tuesday.
pick me up and lay me down- come curve up
this time touch.

i have been picturing you here, inches from
another bite of lower lip.

i hear you locking my strands around your wrist,
close up inside.

so near to my heart, you can feel it
coming for you.


  1. Erin, reading these two poems side by side, I don't see plagiarism at all. I think of plagiarism as blatant theft of someone else's work or creative idea. If you're guilty of anything it would be simply inspiration.

  2. I think you have nothing to worry about, too. Absolutely.

  3. There are shades of "derivation," and are you not speaking of your own thoughts, feeling and emotions? I have held that belief about a poem at MTC, too Erin, but I did not have a particular influence in my head when I wrote it. Or maybe it had been so ingrained into my head from my many visits to MTC, I simply wrote it without realizing it. Now you got me thinking. More on my blogspot about this. It may need further exploring. . . . . . . .Ugh!

  4. OK, so maybe this isn't blatant plagiarism, the words aren't hers, but the idea of this piece, the image in my mind, is so completely from hers, that it feels like something other than "inspiration," something more substantial. I don't know, maybe inspiration is all it was, but if it was inspiration, it was just about the most powerful bout of inspiration I've ever had.

  5. I, too, have "borrowed" an idea from Duchess out of one of her poems, she doesn't mind but I still feel I have to work on it so it is not so similar. But because it's the idea, I'm not sure it's possible. But that's my one and my problem.
    Yours I see no problem with. But if you are still uncertain, my suggestion would be to add "after The Weather, On Sunday" after the title. But that would be to satisfy yourself: it stands alone really well as an original Erin.

  6. What you should is to quote the relevant part of the poem as an epigraph:
    "You have seen the swirls
    curving round between our secret
    in through me, out of you"--Duchess, The weather, on Sunday

    You were promise ...