Freeda Baker Nichols at Barn Studio where Hemingway wrote at Piggott, Arkansas
When I return to Piggott in the fall,
I often write of Ernest Hemingway.
An author, among others, he stands tall.
His books appeal to readers still today.
Although I write
my work does not
compare to his.
His masterpieces line library shelves,
the titles bold as black and silver braids.
My dream to write becomes reality
when I return to Piggott in the fall.
c Copyright 2012, Freeda Baker Nichols
This poem, in the Dorsimbra form, was written recently at the Writers’ Retreat at Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center at Piggott, Arkansas. While I was at the retreat, the staff hosted a book signing and reading. I read from my book, “Call of the Cadron.” I read also from my poem collection. Two other authors participated in the reading and book signing–Jo McDougall, mentor for the retreat, who is the author of a memoir called “Daddy’s Money”, and Donna Austin, author of “The Sunflower Principle.” We read in the living room of the Pfeiffer House, which belonged to the in-laws of Ernest Hemingway. It’s always inspiring and exciting to write in a location where a famous author visited his relatives, and wrote stories in the barn studio.
Although I try, how can I write like him,
a writer honored with the Nobel Prize?
I watch the robins light on dogwood limb
and hear the sorrow in their constant cries.
Have they descended from red-breasted birds
that looked for worms in cool of early dawn
and sang contented songs with smoothest words
when Hemingway once strolled across this lawn?
Today, I write from break of day to dark,
not far from Ernest’s barn loft studio,
beside an oak where lightning cracked tough bark.
Goodbye, great oak. How sad you have to go!
If I create one sentence that is true,
might I be worthy of the Nobel, too?
cCopyright 2006, Freeda Baker Nichols
Published in brochure of Hemingway-Pfeiffer
Creative Writers’ Retreat, 2007-2008
Pfeiffers’ House at Piggott, Arkansas
(Hemingway’s In-laws’ Home. Now a Museum)
Because of my interest in writing, I’ve attended the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Creative Writers’ Retreat in the quaint little town of Piggott, Arkansas for the past several years. To a writer, it’s an experience like no other. The barn studio where Hemingway wrote stories, including parts of “Farewell to Arms”, is inspiring to the retreat attendees who are working toward success in their own writing fields.
My interest is in both fiction and poetry. While attending the retreats, I’ve penned two poems, among other works, and today I’d like to share one of the poems. Keep in mind that poetry can be fiction or fact, and the part of this one that says my books are sold on Amazon—well, that part is fiction. It’s a dream!
Now I share this poem:
Not Quite Hemingway
I’ve come back to this place once more to write
where Hemingway composed “Farewell to Arms.”
I doubt my novels ever will shine bright—
I don’t possess the Papa Ernest charms.
I cannot kill the wild, ferocious game
nor win at poker at the studio.
The barn that bears the famous author’s name
inspires but does not help my words to flow.
If only I could write one sentence true
then I would leave my legacy in bold
imprints the way best-selling writers do.
Their books stand out on shelves like slabs of gold.
My books are sold on Amazon these days
but lack the polished look of Hemingway’s.
cCopyright, 2010, Freeda Baker Nichols
From Legacy, Creative Writers’ Retreat XIV, November 2010
Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center
Poems by Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas, 2011