Maren Mitchell, Items on the Survival Kit List

Maren O. Mitchell

At our table in the mountain town coffee shop,
while college students give a poetry reading,
the young New Yorker,
a blue-eyed Cheshire cat,
smiles as his mother introduces him
to us: he edits film
for a living. His smile stretches on
as he disclaims and labels writing:
Words are over-rated.

My iamb-loving friend Joan
chuckles: Like Dr. Seuss,
we are all waiting to be discovered
She packs her heart and eyes
into meter and rhyme
woven dense as Kevlar,
no words unnecessary.

My main dream sits beside me,
urges me to write
toward another goal—
fill books with poems.
On the brink of old age,
my third aim fights for space:
drop ambition
grasp the calm
heft and sheen
of brevity.

Author’s Comment: Balancing the need and use of words is constant in speech and writing. I am trying to be more selective in both the need and the use.

Bio: Maren O. Mitchell’s poems have appeared in Southern Humanities Review, The Journal of Kentucky Studies, Pirene’s Fountain, Appalachian Journal, The Arts Journal, and elsewhere. Her book, Beat Chronic Pain, An Insider’s Guide, has been released through Line of Sight Press,, and is available on Amazon. For twenty years, across five states, she has taught the Japanese art of origami.

23 thoughts on “Maren Mitchell, Items on the Survival Kit List

  1. Brava, Maren!
    The soul of wit, whether in iambs or otherwise —
    or as Baltasar Gracián, one of the greatest Spanish literary thinkers put it, “Good writing, if brief, is good twice over [Lo bueno, si breve, dos veces bueno].”


  2. This poem works on so many levels, Maren. Very precise. I liked it the first time I read it, and I like it now. My favorite part is your main dream sitting next to you.

    • Thanks, Pris. Enjoyed “The Nature of Attraction.” Congratulations on “Shadows Trail Them Home.” You AND your poetry are admirable!

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