“Shepherd Girl” is developing beautifully. Three of the four stanzas have their variations reduced to one or two preliminary versions for the final draft; only the second stanza has yet to be brought to that point, with about nine variations under consideration.
I spent much of the week on those variations, attempting to weed out the least workable among them; but, with every one I eliminated, several more would spring up! From more than twenty options, I have now set apart nine from which I must extract one.
It sounds complicated, but the poem is a simple ballad with short lines. The challenge is finding the right details to cast in verse—those that best capture the subject and theme (a biographical glimpse into my mother’s youth—its innocence, hardship and beauty).