Behind The Poetry: Winnow

This is in response to my previously published poem: Winnow

I was inspired to write Winnow because:
I have had lovers to whom I have had to say goodbye.
I have had drugs from which I have had to withdraw.
I have believed things I no longer believe, better off for having given them up.
There are so many influences coming at me from all directions every single day, and I must constantly parse what matters from what does not.

In this poem, I am leveraging this definition of winnow.

For most of my life, I have foolishly succumbed to the values imposed on me from outside influences, including family and friends. As I mature, I find that all things only have the value I attribute to them. Not to say that I fully ignore what other people value, but only acknowledging it is up to me whether I am going to also attribute that same value to any particular thing.

The decision to shelf something because it does not have value right now, or to remove something because it no longer remains valuable to me is something I take very seriously. Some of these choices feel like they are tearing my in half, heartbroken and confused.

In the poem, the malaprop hinges on the assumption that I was confused about the financial value of the coins. In the fourth stanza, I describe the logic I used to determine the value of the coins. When I first wrote this, I thought I was describing my own childhood ignorance. However, as I reflected on the nature of my own values, I realized that I had no need for the seventy cent difference between the pile of coins. I was not parsing these coins or choosing them with any financial need or desire in mind.

My choice was the right one precisely because the content of the fourth stanza accurately describes the logic I used. The ultimate result of the decision is the only condition I need to use about whether my logic was sound. In this case, I chose more of what I valued, and was left wanting for nothing. The pennies, though of lesser financial value, did hold greater personal value to me at the time. Therefore, I know I made the right decision.

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