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: 12

untitled
it's as the world is...

SONG
in the beak of one bird...

I STAND
before the tree...

PLUS A DAY
the eastern light...

ME STANDING STILL
by my feet infant trees...

10/8/03
trunk in the forest lit...

APPLE AND NEARFULL MOON
first bite of an apple...

SUNSET AUTUMN
the brilliant west...

UNEXPECTED LOVE
the cranes hovering...

STILL POOL
inked by falling leaves...

10/23/03
moody cemetery...

ACROSS IN
air...

IN MY NEW BLACK JACKET
beanfields shake their rattles...

OUR TRIP
it is like...

ALAN AFTER HE LEFT
missed out on certain sundays...

5:55
moon gone...

SOMETIME IN THE SEASON
a shower blowing headlines past...

THE HILL WAS BRIGHT GREEN
the crow was darker...

FOLLOWING
the road coming out of my mouth...

NEW SORROWS EVERY DAY
the birds flying through my head...

REAL REMEMBRANCE
the wind as the weather changes...

MY POEMS
I said and then paused...

12/1/03
branches bare their birds to the wind...

LONG FULL
the evening land...

AROUND
the way the world looked to him...

ON THE WORLD
this world is one...

FROM THIS BLUFF
trees having shed their leaves...

WOODS: ZONE
where loneliness finds itself...

THEFT OF A LINE FROM WRIGHT
when the sea comes back...

WILDNESS COMES BACK
The wild in America is contained, pushed back, owned by the people...

3/1/04
the road is quiet...

AUTOBIOGRAPHY VOL. III
in the desert of eternity...

FOR ONCE
setting a course...

YELLOW BIRCH RAVINE, HEMLOCK CLIFFS
go an hour south...

PRESERVED
how a house becomes a ruin...

INSTANT PRACTICE
I have failed...

TEACHER
breath of breaths...

UNTIL
this dream we are living...

OF THE NINETEEN THOUSAND
of the nineteen thousand days of my life so far...

UNDISTURBED
The night after the poetry reading I slept well but towards morning...

SHORT SPRING SHOPPING LIST
forsythia...

WAZOO,
out the:...

7/20/04
the dead wood's fruit...

ELEGY
told me two weeks before he died...

MY CAREER I
near the cascades leaping recklessly...

MY CAREER II
standing on the vast roof that evening...

UNAFFLICTED
summer somnia...

WHAT I NOTICED AND WHAT I THOUGHT
trees shook by wind...

PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE
so happy with me...

WHILE THE MASS EXTINCTIONS
went on there were...

LEFT
to have waited...

LESSON
the heart tilted over...

MODERN SINKHOLES
near the house...

EVERYWHERE
this time of year...

WEEKEND SCENE
walking in circles forwards...

LAST DAY OF SUMMER
a tree lighter by a leaf...

DRY
the natives mow their lawns...

FIRST LIGHT
the other great example...

THE BOLD AND THE PALE
the morning glories have surged up the trellises...

I'M HAPPY
when I say I'm happy...

 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.