Slice of Life: The Unexpected Poem

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

You may not believe me on this but it’s true. I was at our local library, and I often kill time there by looking at the rack of “recently returned” books to see what other people are reading. Sort of a like a literary voyuer. I was scanning the far side of the rack when I saw a small book of poetry and art about the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, which is where I live.

I sat down, flipped through the pages, perusing some of the writing and enjoying the art of where I live when I landed on page 82. And I saw my own name and one of my poems. And that’s when I remembered — in one of those odd “oh yeah” moments — submitting a poem to a local anthology about ten years ago. Publication took time, and I guess I sort of forgot all about it. This book was published nearly four years ago, I see.

Ghost Train poem in Anthology

But there I was, a poet in the collection. Of course, I checked out the book from the library, and showed my family the poem with a mysterious ‘turn to page 82.’ (My middle son then flipped to the bios, and saw his own name referenced, which gave him some excitement). The piece is all about the train tracks that have been transformed into bike and hiking trails in our neighborhood, and the ghosts of the past that ride with the present.

Interesting, right? Serendipity. Or something.

Peace (you never know),

  1. Love the discovery this piece screams! What a great moment it must have been when you first stared down at your own poem! I got butterflies for you! The poem is full of the past and the present (next time I ride on our rail trail here in CT, I’ll remember Ghost Trains. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a great coincidence that you discovered your poem there- you could have not noticed the book, turned to that page, or even been in the library that day- serendipity at its best! I love the poem too- very evocative.

  3. This is so compelling, on many counts – the serendipity, yes, the fact that the book drew you, the sense of stepping outside of oneself but finding oneself – kind of a time-traveler thing. “We ride along these tracks of forgotten years …” – a wildly apropos line for stepping back into your own history! I love the train metaphor and the ghostly connotation – another haunting reminder that our writing will outlive us. Bravo~

  4. What an odd feeling it must have been, seeing your work in print before the memory of submitting the piece caught up with you! And what a thrill, sharing it with your family. I believe in the power of “coincidence”, guessing there was a reason for you to see it here and now…

  5. What a fantastic surprise. My step mom just recently found some of her artwork (from when she was 15) published in a book at an estate sale. Life is unexpected.

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