Here’s the other poem that was commended in the Ware competition. Although I have now messed around with it a bit, because it’s impossible to type something out without messing around with it a bit.
The third time round you’d think I’d know what I
was doing. Things went wrong though and the milk
got stuck: every time I tried I’d cry.
The milk came out like glue and made me ill.
I lay in bed and shivered, watching things
go wrong; fever, bleeding, strange white lumps.
I’d pull myself awake at two each morning
to clear the block with an electric pump,
see slimy curds uncurl in plastic tubes –
poor cow gone wrong. I didn’t know if I
would make it. Once I looked across the room
over staling milk and muslins, cries,
and saw my husband watching – so far away –
my island bed, a storm that raged and raged.
I wrote this several years after the event – I never knew about tongue tie before. Here is a handy article about it.
I started submitting stuff to poetry magazines this April. I started getting rejections about two weeks later. Coincidence? I think not.
The first time was grim and terrible. It didn’t say anything mean – in fact, it was thoughtful and kind. Nonetheless, I immediately realised everything I had ever produced was awful and that I must stop writing instantly.
The time after that, I only cried a little bit.
The sixth time I thought ‘meh.’
I have also discovered that there are good rejections and bad rejections. Handily, this rejection wiki gives examples of first tier rejections (no to this but we’d be interested in seeing other things by you) and second tier ones (just nooooooo). And it turns out I’ve had some really good – non-form – rejections. I’ve also had some acceptances, which will never become meh (most recently here, for Kevin Reid’s new blog of teeny tiny poems – submit, submit!)
My formula so far: response to rejection=n(rejection)/x, where x=the realisation that an editor is actually another human being who may or may not happen to like something. It could probably be more elegant.