Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Making of a Poem


First you must take the slovenly heap of words and throw them into a pile in the corner. Underneath you will find a structure which is supposed to support the words in some form of order. Do not be tempted to stop there - you will discover it wobbles as soon as you touch it. Dismantle the structure and put the pieces to one side. You will be left with a space and this is the true beginning. When you understand the size and shape of the space you can consider the options for filling it. There will only be one correct choice but it is likely that you will spend a great deal of time trying various unsatisfactory solutions before the correct choice becomes obvious. Gradually the structure will be built again, each strut levelled and every joint tested. When you are sure that the structure is solid you can begin laying the words within it. Each word must be of the finest quality, smoothed, polished and placed with precision. The words must fit easily within the structure and the sequence must be impeccable, flowing from one word to the next without interruption. When you are satisfied that the words have been carefully placed on a solid structure that is perfect for the space you can stand back and look at the whole. It is likely that you will see that the structure is ugly and have to dismantle everything but you may be fortunate and only have to remove unnecessary words which had seemed quite perfect, quite essential. It will hurt but you must do these things for peace of mind. Eventually the poem is there in front of you. And you think...why go through all that fuss for such a little thing...a poem which is imperfect and insignificant and only says a tiny part of what you want to say. And your heart aches. But you know that even if you manage only that fragment of what you want to say it is worth the effort.

8 comments:

  1. This, my friend, is immeasurable skill, plus grace.

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  2. You have SUCH a way with words and I echo Blackbird: grace shines through........

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  3. You make a poem out of the explanation of how to make a poem

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  4. sometimes words become poetry without you realising it

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  5. MrsM is much brighter than me in all senses. Different wiring ...

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  6. 'You will be left with a space and this is the true beginning'. And it is always worth the effort. So very true.
    cath

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  7. explains to me exactly why i am no poet...
    and you are.
    :^)

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