ACCOUNT OF MY DAYS

sequence #
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20

  keyword(s) in poems:

Sequence: 11

BEING AND NON-BEING
vastness goes...

FIREFLY NIGHTS
firefly nights and bloom...

SUMMER ENDING SOUNDS
cicada on a willow branch...

YOUR FACE IS HERE
I carry it in both hands...

COMPASS
to point the direction of time's arrow...

WHAT I HEARD
the same sound in the rain coming through the trees...

THE WORKS IN NEWARK AND FORT ANCIENT
the circle I stand in...

BECK'S MILL
stands of corn fields of grass and tall flowers...

THE DROUGHT OF 2002
remember rain...

WAITING FOR COOLER
over all the river lands...

untitled
through misfortune...

STONE QUARRIES
there was never...

CONVERSATION WITH FATE
fate can be found in all directions...

NEWS
here here here here here...

PARALLELS
what goes on at the same time...

OUT OF SLEEP
often when I wake before daylight...

TIME RELIGION
worshipped by ticks prayed to...

THIS AFTERNOON
I walked over the cemetary...

LATE IN SEPTEMBER
the bigger sky...

WHERE I COME FROM
farmers turning in their fields...

TWO BY TWO
in the iron-barred well of a basement window...

IN US
the day of your night is walking...

9/30/02
a crow like me squawks from some way off...

MY METHOD
my method...

TO THE FALLEN/IN PRAISE OF FALLING/THEFT OF LINES FROM TAYLOR
color of flame...

WEATHER
The door holds. Yesterday's violent red morning, today's steady...

CAUSE/EFFECT
because of mirrors I have a face...

PERSONAL REVELATIONS OF 2003
I am in my middle errors waiting in line to migrate...

THE ROADSIDE MARTYRS
there are no coffins under the crosses they only mark...

I LISTEN
even when no one is talking...

2/4/03
this morning the sky was a sea of clouds...

ENTRY FOR A CHRONICLE
In this year, people's talk was often of peace and war....

WIND REMEMBER
the wind blowing the winter I was 11 is still blowing...

HOLD ON
this is not...

MINUS WHATEVER MINUS
sky minus blue earth minus brown...

COMING ACROSS DEER TRACKS IN THE SNOW
my feet step where yours did...

MIRROR MYSELF
being invisible to myself...

SOMEONE AND ME
someone complained about my attitude...

3/22/03
dark the pillow from which dawn lifts its head...

OUR COURTHOUSE IS BEAUTIFUL
from the southwest corner on a clear April day...

LUCKY FOR NOW
I slept but all night in the constant rain...

APOLOGIZE BUT
I should apologize to the county...

VISITING T.C. STEELE'S HOUSE IN THE RAIN
the trees have had time...

METAPHOR
one thing is like another...

ITINERARY
I crossed the Wabash River...

ER
by which I mean Eric Rensberger...

7/20/03
no one to see...

READY I THOUGHT
I am ready I thought...

untitled
subtle...

CHILLY WITH
the window open...

THUNDER DAY
everything loses strength in the heat...

REMINDER
Last summer I looked for the bridge whose enormous piers cast the...

COUNTING UP TO 53
and counting again...

SUMMER NIGHT
day goes down...

JUST BEFORE BED
above the heart a sentence beats...

STORM DAMAGE
trees shattered...

MY HOUSE, A POEM
You are listening when I say that the great thing about a poem...

MARS GETS CLOSER
and catches us looking at him...

A GLIMPSE
for weeks we looked at the sky...

 Account of My Days is the name I have given to the project I have been working on since 1985. I was working on it, adding to it, for several years before I realized what I was doing or had a name for it. The title and the method that went with it came to me at roughly the same time; it became a way of working forward from that point, as well.

There are two rules I followed in constructing  Account of My Days:
     1) Finish one poem before beginning another.
     2) Keep the poems in the same order they were written.

Once the rules were established, I could allow myself exceptions. Rule number one has been subject to frequent re-interpretation, so that I find myself working on three or four poems at the same time, telling myself I must because the first one in the series is being stubborn and slow. Rule number two I have never varied in any significant way, though when two or more poems have emerged from the same mess of jottings it has sometimes been a problem to decide the order of priority for them. But I have principles I use to guide these decisions.

A third rule emerged as I kept writing: No changes later. This has eased my work considerably as the collection has grown and the perspective of time yields fresh regrets unforeseen at the time of composition. Occasionally I have allowed myself to correct a typo or edit a word that was put down with exceptional thoughtlessness. For the most part, though, the poems are untouched by further reflection.

The most arbitrary custom I have developed is the division of  Account of My Days into "sequences"--it is a habit developed from reading books, and soothes me with its rhythm.

I admit that my method allows mistakes and failure to be included in the final outcome. In addition to failure, the other major elements of the account are changes of direction, improvisation, self-doubt, and time.

Once, challenged by a friend, I had to defend the title against the contents. This is an account of my days, not  the account of my days. Another could be written. It is about self-revelation, self-evasion, and self-construction; restlessness, attempts to reason, answers, refusals to answer, outbursts...

The "I" of this account is a doubtful character. It could be me, it could be someone else. Another Eric has appeared to me here--insistent, surrounded by a perfect silence that is the counterpart and echo of his intense speech. He is in a comedy that does not always amuse him. This person has become a companion to me, speaking reminders in my ear as I walk again where he has walked. In some sense a guide, but in another someone who needs to be restrained from taking all he claims. My interesting friend.