Last night I whittled down more than 16 lines of a draft to a four line poem. In the end the draft was waffle and the quatrain captured exactly what I wanted to say. It didn't need to be said again.
I jotted it down between checking my emails and putting some chips in the oven. I was also listening to a pre-match report on the radio. My wife was upstairs putting our daughter to bed.
The revision took place on its own in my mind throughout the day, and perhaps longer, and the actual jotting was spontaneous. It felt good to write though I barely knew I had written it. Momentarily I felt lighter and whole, whatever that means. A number of things coming together, perhaps. Then I left it and got on with making dinner.
More recently I am letting myself write the poems I am able to write rather than the ones I want to write, or which I've learned to write. I could write a lot more this way, and feel more authentically myself, though I worry about finding a place to publish them. Might be a blog's the best place for them, at least until I find the right magazines to place them. Suggestions welcome.
The poem is my contribution to the 'to the reader' poems that many poets get round to writing. I'm often struck by their length and that they come from the poet's frame of reference. (In the back of my mind is an admirable Billy Collins exception.) I thought it important to think about where the reader might be coming from, and if I was being honest, ultimately turn them away. Not much of a strategy for developing a readership, but it does express something of the importance I attach to autonomy in personal development.
Anyway, that's enough about a four-liner so here it is.
To the Reader
Whatever you want
from this poem
you already possess
yourself in abundance.