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Autumn for Poets

autumn_sceneUsually Spring is my season-of-choice, the time of year when I feel inspired and renewed, like many other people. This year, for some strange reason, it is the onset of Autumn that has heralded revival. Instead of rest and patience, I have the urge to try new things, to create and produce.

Perhaps it’s simply the effect of the jewel-coloured glow of nature. But I am ready to try writing poetry again. It’s something I have never mastered – the art of poetry. I have had some limited success with haiku – I manage to write those fairly well, and as I’ve commented before, I think it’s the short length and the formal constraints that have actually helped me to do this, and of course – practice!

But ‘real’ poetry – that’s where I struggle. There’s a poem from  ancient Persia – or from Native Americans, depending on your source, that includes these words: “the author/poet threads his bright words as beads upon a string.” How apt.

When I sit down to write a poem, I find myself creating it the same way a novice cook prepares a meal – I use everything in the cupboard. By the time I’ve finished, my lines are overloaded with imagery and description, allegory and simile. Strange, because that’s not the kind of prose I write. My style can be somewhat meandering at times, but is usually fairly description-free. I also dislike reading wordy, heavily descriptive books.

So why is my poetry so different?

I think it’s just that it’s still very new to me – or rather, I am new to it. And maybe I just try too hard, and I definitely think I’ve finished too soon. You don’t just set down the words then stop.

Apparently you then have to cross out most of the words and replace them with other words. And also, you have to rearrange the words. Then you have to wander away and think, possibly have a drink or stroke the cat. Then you go back, you swap around the lines. And if you’ve decided to write a poem that rhymes, (and trust me, it’s easier if it doesn’t) then you need to have everything that sounds the same either at the end or in the middle, or preferably both.

It’s going to take some time. It takes dedication and determination and a willingness to try, and to keep trying. This is something that can’t be rushed. A bit like the arrival of Spring. Hopefully, with a lot of practice, I’ll be able to create something worth waiting six months for.


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