A couple of years ago I wrote a teeny tiny little poem called "Door." Seven short lines. (In fact, I was taking a workshop with Cathy Bowman at the time, just for the heck of it -- the only graduate-level workshop one can take at IU without being in the MFA program -- and wrote the poem as an assignment for that class. The assignment? "Write a short poem." Cathy's response? "Wow, that's really short." Muahaha.)
I decided it wasn't a bad little poem, and sent it out. Lo and behold, it got accepted the first time out (which hardly ever happens) and appeared in issue 9 of Poetry Midwest. A bit later, my poetry group, Five Women Poets, decided to record a CD to celebrate the group's thirtieth anniversary. (No, I haven't been with the group for 30 years -- I would have had to join when I was 13, and hoo boy did my poems suck then. We do still have two of the original founding members, though.) I selected "Door" as one of the poems I wanted to record.
A couple of months later, I received an email from a local composer, who was working on setting a bunch of poems by Bloomington poets. He'd read a bunch of my poems and listened to our CD. The poem he wanted to set to music? "Door." Of course I said yes; I've heard the piece once so far, and it's really cool, partly because it's very different from anything I would have imagined for it -- it's fascinating to get a glimpse into how someone else hears my words. He's continuing to work on this project and sometime next fall, I think, there will be a performance and possibly a CD. He is quite a good composer with a lovely baritone voice, and his partner is a faculty member in the IU School of Music -- one of the best music schools in the country -- so you can imagine his work has a bit of Serious Music Cred.
I ran into him at a reading not long ago, and he said that he'd submitted some samples of this project to a state agency in an effort to obtain a grant. They'd given him some feedback, and the piece they most especially liked? Yep, "Door."
For a teeny tiny little short poem, this puppy's racking up a lot of mileage. I am quite amused. It's far from the best poem I have ever written, but my goodness, how can I not be fond of a poem that makes such good things happen? It's my lovable-runt-of-the-litter poem. It's the little poem that could.
I often stand in doorways
between one room and the next
looking in, looking out.
It isn’t indecision
that keeps me here
but the moment of passage,
the opening, the frame.
-A.H. 2003; first published in Poetry Midwest