It’s been a while since I’ve been so firmly entrenched in poetry. Poetry is, to me, a way of life. Back at school, I ate, slept, breathed poetry — at one point, more than any other thing, more than dance, more than German, more than partying and the Women’s Center — I bled poems. I saw a squirrel darting across the grass and there was a poem. I had a bad dream and there was another, I had a bad day and there were ten.
Coming back down, as I call it, to the real world — it robbed the poetry from me, for a time. I tried so desperately hard to keep it in my life — reading and writing it on my lunch breaks until too many people came by and made a sort of surprised face and asked, are you…writing poetry? I admit, I quaked under their lack of understanding, their (kind-hearted) bewilderment. I was young, I was 22, 23, I wasn’t strong enough in who I was yet.
So, lately, I’ve really, really been trying to work on focusing on poetry. I’ve started to read more of it, every day, if I can manage it. I get poetry.org’s Poem of the Day, and while I may not read it first thing in the morning, or occasionally save up 3-4 until I have time to savor them — that was a start. I carry around Wendell Berry and heave out my collected works of Louise Glück at least a few times a month. It’s a start, and I’ve scribbled, here and there, a few lines. Not full poems, but little scraps that want to become poems.
I had a moment of clarity, earlier last week, and a full poem burst forth from me. I’ve learned I have to just go, I have to just follow, when the poetry muse offers me a poem. If I hesitate, it is lost.
This is not the best poem I’ve ever written. I’m not even convinced it’s a good one.
But it’s a start — and I’ll take that.