This morning I picked up Jane Kenyon’s Collected Poems and read for a long time before settling on this one:
A wasp rises to its papery
nest under the eaves
where it daubs
at the gray shape,
but seems unable
to enter its own house.
The title makes this poem what it is. (Imagine it as “Not Making Love,” or “Jilted.”)
After writing out the poem in my journal, and contemplating today’s postcard, titled “Yawning River Otter,” I struggled with how to write what I wanted to write. If otters yawn, my thoughts ran, why don’t they laugh? And if that’s simply my rampant anthropomorphism, it was followed by wondering why an otter might laugh. Maybe he laughs at the silly man staring from nearby reeds and making the weird clicking noises with that box, or because the world is joyous, or because laughing keeps him from crying.
The idea of how we (humans, not river otters) so often laugh to keep from crying, kept resurfacing in my draft of today’s poem, but I couldn’t make it fit. Then, I remembered that I had the title, too, to write.