It’s Hard to Know Where to Begin

I could start under a tree outside
my grandmother’s kitchen window,

I feel like everyone has a grandmother with a tree outside her kitchen window. I love this image and I feel like it is the place of many beginnings.-Rachel McGuinness, age 20

or I could wait until the dog needs
a walk, or I could start over here
by the couch and stack of books.
Maybe not; maybe upstairs under
the bed or even in the basement,
back behind that pile of toys we
keep saying we’ll give away.

There is a subtle nostalgia about this poem. It’s almost difficult to tack down the mood. Part of it seems melancholy, but it is also wistful and has a sense of hope. -Sarah Branz, age 21

The garden is a possibility,
around the comfrey or the spent
peonies. Or maybe just here,
where an old man from when
I was a kid came up and asked
if I would look at his hands.

The visual images in It’s Hard to Know Where to Begin take you into the author’s life. It is very relatable to beginning a project such as writing a story, caring for a home, or even beginning the day. The poem illustrates the possibilities of the day. - Daisy Hall, age 14
I like that the poet never explains what it is he’s trying to begin. It lets the reader relate it to their own life and think about what they might need to begin. The variety of beautiful, yet simple, images, places, and ages lends the poem a universality. -Sarah Branz, age 21
Although this poem does not specify what the person is about to begin, my first thought was that he is trying to find the perfect spot to start writing. Perhaps it is because I go through a similar process when I am about to write, looking for a cozy, peaceful place where no one would expect to find me, where I will be relaxed and inspired. None of these places are typical areas for work; a strange little nook beside a stack of books, under the bed, or outside in the fresh air...they are interesting and special, where the imagination can take hold. The place where writing occurs is just as important as the writing itself. Therefore, I interpret the narrator's musings as a simple quest to find the perfect nook. -Laura Crouch, age 20
I read this as a poet trying to write a poem, pondering the different subjects he could use as a start, and wow, what truth! I often find myself at this same crossroads. What’s most important here though, is the sentiment that poems are everywhere around us, hiding in every single experience and memory, waiting to be written. There are so many, in fact, that as the poet says, “It’s hard to know where to begin.” -Kyle Austin, age 24
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.