Forging the Poem, An Anecdote

A poem is coming; I feel it first as a subtle tectonic shift beneath my heels.  A tremor where my feet root to the earth, at the earthward pointing pinnacle of my root chakra (the singing bowl of my pelvis spreads the aerial wings of the triumvirate), travels through the conduits of my long bones.  Contact. 

And now it rises and spreads, an expanding bubble of energy, sexjoyviolencedespairtranscendence all at once, the human condition and the expression of life, here, now.  It is, so far, wordless.  Not comfortable.  Essential as air.  It flees up the chain of chakric points like a bullet at a carnival booth, pinging each spinning wheel dead center, igniting them.  Stomach clenches, lungs tighten, the body says move, dance, roll on the grass.  Throat opens, and the words coalesce out of primal force.  Third eye opens, and, oh god, sees.  It looks and looks, deeper, further.  It is painful.  It is glorious.  I am a torch, burning, burning, and the poem bursts from the lotus of my crown chakra, into the world.  I am strung like a bead on this sizzling loop of power, the divine at both ends, trying to say something through my inadequate medium.  Trying to tell it true.  I write.  I weeplaughshout. 

It is mangled.  Never whole or perfect.  But at times it is closer to its real form than others.  The poem, my darling.  I lovehate it; I am compelled to share it, deformities and all.  Now I shape it with a cool mind.  I use the tools of craft upon it.  I shore it up, or trim it down, name it. 

I give it what it needs to walk, and let it go.

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2 thoughts on “Forging the Poem, An Anecdote

  1. I am not that poetic about the embryonic journey of a poem. I do obey my “muse’ and get it down–all down. Most of the time, it is first a journal entry. When I am working on a poem, it is the most important thing in my life. I know timing is everything. If I do not get it all down, my words lose its power. I forget. It is too distant. Finally, I shape it, delete what is not necessary or gets in the way. I may rearrange a line or two. I keep working on it. Then I rest or let the poem rest and come back. If you are lucky, I may share it. I have to be very careful who I finally show the final product. My ego is very fragile. Most of the time, it is my wife who hears it for the first time and I trust her judgment. If the poem holds up, I may venture to read it in public. And I pay attention to the interest (or disinterest) others might pay it. Most of my journal entries never get that far. Never become poems. I always am very aware of how my poem sounds to my ear. In the beginning that all there was the oral tradition. It has to sound right and I can’t tell you what “right” is. It is all instinctive although I am particularly sensitive to my wife’s reaction. Nevertheless, I her feedback has to ring true.

    1. What an excellent point you make about poetry needing to sound right to the ear. It does derive from an oral tradition, and it is still a great pleasure to read the poetry I love aloud, the delicious words and phrases. Reading aloud allows me to hear the poet’s voice, to understand the cadence of the poem, its music. Yes, you are very right to “listen” to your work before calling it finished.

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