Fog on the river this morning. A kind of fog in my spirit too: It’s Monday, my writing group is tonight and I don’t feel warmed up to writing a poem. I think, maybe I’ll find something to revise, but that idea seems flat. I keep walking and an idea comes to me – from where and why now? – to write about my grandmother’s funeral which took place almost twenty years ago. I’ve also written about it before. Am I rehashing thematic territory I’ve covered, or mining something new? It has to do with the idea of a visitation by a stranger. Once home, I start writing a poem I thought I wouldn’t write. By tonight I have a draft, which I take, and I get some very helpful comments: one of the most helpful – and challenging – is that my ending is too “tidy,” and my poem deserves, he says, a more complicated one. Yes, I see that now. Then, riding home, I have met my daughter, we’re driving home together and I tell her about the poem and it’s a long story, she has many questions about this grandmother who died soon after she was born, and in the telling of all this backstory to the poem I realize I have left out of the poem an important detail from her deathbed (it was a very untidy one). So, tonight, I’m grateful to have written something fresh and new but uncertain if I can make it better. Last night, I quoted Rilke about the significance of a meeting with a stranger. Now I see how this prompted the poem.