“if you know what you are going to write when you’re writing a poem, it’s going to be average.” — derek walcott
i thought i would write something
playing with the words “erase” and “trace”
until i realized i could not write that
poem today and call myself a lady.
since i am trying to grow up into
truly being a lady and a woman
(and not just a girl) i will save
those thoughts for a time and
an idea where they’ll not be
unladylike or misconstrued.
i don’t know what i’m writing!
this is the folly and the foible
of a wandering and wondering
mind — yet is it better not
to have ideas when beginning
the writing process? to have
just a small thought niggling
and gnawing at the back of
your mind, worming its way
through your conscious and
unconscious thoughts until
it forces you to sit down and
make dream a reality, thereby
setting it free? sometimes that
is how i find it, while other days
i have something specific to express
and the way in which i’ll say it
is the only unknown. still other
moments i sit down, like today,
and summarily shred all my
poetic ideas and fancies, finding
them too hard to write about or
too happy or sad or any number
of other extremes and just stop.
i sit, stare, think, drink coffee, if
i’m lucky enough to have any,
scratch my head, crane my neck,
light candles, ruffle the lavender,
think of all the things i should be
doing — but i’ve made poetry a
serious part of me, and the poems
inside must be written even if my
words stick in my throat or clog
my pen. i will sit here until something
comes, i say, knowing that for those
born to write, writing must be done,
no matter how good or bad the end
product, no matter if it is cast into
the (proverbial) fire tomorrow as lewis
says, without hope of success or even
seeing the light of day. so, mr. walcott,
would you call my work average? i am
an amateur, i’ll admit. my wit and wisdom
are still sporadic at best — i write,
then let my writing rest until i can bear
to hack away at the bare framework
of bones i’ve built and refine the figure
into something of beauty and grace.
do i have hope for the future as a writer?
i have the pleasurable agony of
alternately restraining and unleashing
my muses and allowing my soul
to be seen by strangers. i write.
not because i want fame and glory,
but because i have no choice. i must write.