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Writing a poem is hard work

  • 05 August 2014


The Poem About What It’s About Here’s my question. What if there was a poemThat didn’t know what it was about until it gotTo the end of itself? So that the poet’s job isn’tTo play with imagery and cadence and metricalToys in order to make a point, but rather to justKeep typing in order to find out that the poem’sAbout how hard it is to watch your kids get hurtBy things they can’t manage and you cannot fix.If I had been the boss of this poem I would haveMade it so they can manage things, or I could beThe quiet fixer I always wanted to be as a father.But that’s not what the poem wanted to be about,It turns out. You have to sort of admire the poemThat’s about what it’s about. But you can also beAngry and scared by how you can’t argue with it. -- Brian Doyle The Poem The poem weeps cursive on parchmentit is an old story, told many timesthe permutations only in pigmenta tale of travellers from many landsfleeing oppression, seeking refuge andfinding noneonly barbed wire and fences The poem weeps blood on the page of historyspraying words like bulletsrefugees betrayed by kissesfrom friends of democracydetained without libertyas trauma layers trauma andpoliticians touch and retouchtheir policy like a paintingdisguising layers of crueltyin the guise of protecting borders fromsouls seeking asylum The poem weeps effluent besmirching the printed pagecroupiers reporting arrivals on a biased wheelusing spin and a white ball todetermine colour and numbersgambling with fear in the populacea zero spiel deflecting boats to the neighboursa play on people’s lives -- Deanne Davies Writing a Poem is Hard Work It never looks likehard work, watchingclouds.It never looks like work, unblinkingly staring outthe train window as I head towork. Itnever looks like I’ve just rolled my sleeves up whileI stare at an old shoe in the corner of theroom for hours. Andit absolutely never looks like I’ve sweated a day in my lifeas I skewer a stare right through theFriday morning waitress –the brick wall behind her –and the heart of the faint moon in the sky contemplatingabsolutelyeverything atall -- Darby Hudson Why Poetry? Why poetry, he said,And why not prose?Many stories to be told and“Literary fiction” to be written. But so much discipline as wellDays and nights obsessingA love of language to be sureLife to be lived instead. Already forty years of toilOf discipline and effortOf early starts and tired daysWhy do that in retirement? Live in the present, live todayLive fully and aliveEnjoy it