Inspired by a course I’m taking on poetry. Although I am learning a lot and have been given a trove of resources, I’ve found my output to be lackluster. The word “why” floats in my brain like a hard nugget beneath layers of questions. I ask myself: Is this my best work? (no) Has my inspirational well run dry? (feels like it) Is the attempt of something of this caliber at the end of a school year—this year in particular—a bad choice? (possibly) Do I love anything I have written? (maybe a line here and there but much of it feels stilted, stunted, superficial; my verse is not “alive,” Miss Dickinson, I don’t even have to ask). It’s a conundrum, really, how I can write poems every day for a month straight and then dive with great eagerness into a course on the craft only to find my Muse has departed. I am adrift in the ocean in a makeshift raft. Am I having a writerly crisis? (not exactly…but I AM re-evaluating my efforts). Is this my own fault? (perhaps I am not pouring myself into it as I should) If I were to “name my feelings,” what words come immediately to mind? (is “paralyzed” a feeling? How about “shy,” not as in being timid in front of others—heavens no!—but as in going to the doctor’s office and being handed a cup for obtaining a urine sample and discovering you have a “shy” bladder. Which leads me back to the thing at the center of it all: why).
I only know one antidote for writing malaise.
Since the problem is poetry, poetry I shall write. On my own terms, for my own self.
Here’s a small beginning, anyway…
A poem is a pearl
with organic origins
that will not be rushed
hard grain entering
the shell of my skull, somehow
scratching my soft brain
jets of milk-stimulation
layer on layer
from my own nacre
I can’t estimate
its costliness, completeness
beyond my own brain
…to be continued, I think…
...and, it just so happens that as I hit “publish,” WordPress tells me this is my 500th post.
Cracked pearl. Filter Forge. CC BY
Lead photo: Pearl. amboo who? CC BY-SA