Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Daring To Dream Of The Quintessential Poem

..there I was without a face

and it touched me.

                              Pablo Neruda


The sleep god, himself, appears

and slips the reigns into my hand

nodding -- that  I must go the old way.  Cloaked

on horseback  through the evening  gate.


The roan stays  quiet and still

while Morpheus, appareled in  his peasant's shirt

and vest  (his boots strewn with pollen),

stresses --  the poem must find me,  by scent

and instinct; not what poses in the glass. That writer

wearing  her same, familiar brand.


Like a seamstress the journey

alters our path. Voice and viewpoint change

and the change remains unknown

even to one's self  --until  the song (and if the song)


restless and readied for perfection

pursues its mistress. Much like a cat

searching for a sorceress to serve, or  spirit

seeking a lamp to illume.


The subconscious draws me in

draped in dusk  and smelling of want.

Those white flowers on the archway

soft, poisonous with expectation.

This poem was partially inspired by Pablo Neruda's poem "Poetry" where he declares that he did not pursue poetry, it sought him out and brought him into its fold at a certain age. He begins with the lines
At that age, poetry arrived
in search of me

And so I thought how often as a writer I am always chasing or seeking to write that "quintessential poem"
that embodies all the wise and perfect qualities that will enable me to say I have written something beyond my usual voice/style/capability. And always find myself saying, "If it's not this poem it will be the next". But the more I pursue it the more that "poem" eludes me. So I have come to realize , as much wiser and scholarly poets/artists/ have expressed, the poem cannot be hunted down or written by specific order or deadlines. It must come , on its own, to the writer. Like a spirit, it will find its vessel and as writers we must be patient and wait. We must listen and accept the intervals of silence between the inspiration and the delivery of that inspiration through prose or verse. And the "ultimate poem" for each striving individual might not be a singular thing-- but a few poems that emerge out of many but are spaced months or years apart. The poem will know when its author is of the right age, place in time, circumstance, and open-mindedness to accept the theme or idea. And perhaps, the risk in dreaming of writing this kind of poem is the emotional high and low, the expectation that it will happen no matter what/when ;and then if doesn't materialize within a certain amount of anticipated time, there is the depression. Maybe, the best thing is to simply move with the current or "go with the flow". Let things be and it will happen when and if  it is meant to occur.



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