Playing music is important to my poetry in several ways. Most simply but maybe most profoundly, it relaxes my mind and spirit and sometimes opens a creative void that a poem or fragment might flow into.
The attention to rythmn, meter, and melodic progresssion inform my poetry at a deep level such taht even if I’m not consciously tinking of them in relation to a poem they are there, gently nudging me one way or another.
Thirdly, the discipline of music, of practice, practice, and more practice has instilled in me the habit of working poems as I work a piece of music, sometimes obsessing over a single word until I get it right.
What about you? Even if you don’t play and instrument, does music inform your writing? If so, how?
Still playing with this theme of inspiration, I find the more I read poetry the more I write. If I’m not reading poetry I may be able to edit and work on poems, but have great difficulty writing anything new. Sometimes a particular poem or line from a poem will be the springboard for a new poem. Maybe I’m just a plagarist at heart. What about you? Do you find some of your work springing from a specific poem or poet you’re reading?
Reflection: For Neruda
Late at night, rain streaks the window,
wet streets glisten in the headlights of passing cars.
The house is silent except for your breathing.
You’ve been reading Neruda and are filled
with the ocean and the drowned, uplifting arm,
the wind trading blows with the rain.
The darkness is palpable and boundless,
a companion offering the gift of solitude
and the certainty of loss.
Dear reader, stop wherever you are, whatever
you are doing and imagine
a cold night, late autumn —
You are sleepless, alone
in a quiet house with soft rain falling.
You gaze out the window into centuries
of night and storm.
Maybe the voice of someone lost to you years ago
whispers at your side,
maybe, within your chest, a flight of loons,
the beating of your own dead father’s heart.
I will use this blog to post new poems and to invite discussion of particular topics. We’ll see if that flies or not. No harm in trying I guess. If you want to respond, please do, otherwise this is going to get mighty lonely. I’ll also post old poems by others that are no longer under copyright. To kick this off, I was intitially tempted to go right for a really big topic ( I won’t tell you yet what it is) but I thought I better start with something a little easier to get things rolling. Maybe not a whole lot less, but here it is.
How important is inspiration, the muse, duende in writing? How important is it to just sit down and write, whether you feel inspired or not? What do you do?
The Ones Who Get the World Ready
2AM. A light wind stirs the dry
leaves of the ash outside your window.
Soon, the cold November rains will come and strip
the branches bare. A blank pad of paper sits on the desk and you twirl
a pen in your right hand – thumb, index, middle.
Thumb, index, middle. Over and over.
You hear the stair risers creak and the dog
comes in, settles at your side.
You stare at the window and your own face
stares back, with nothing to say.
Don’t think this is a poem about searching
for inspiration. It’s just man who can’t sleep
and doesn’t want to bother his wife
with his restlessness. He thinks he’s a poet so instead
of boiling a chicken and chopping vegetables,
or cleaning the garage, he pretends to write.
In the distance he hears the low thrum of diesels, the long
whistle as a Burlington Northern & Santa Fe freight
crosses Pine St., the diesel sound slowly fading until
there is only, again, the rustling of dry leaves. This is the hour
when the world comes unmoored from its foundations and begins to drift.
Here and there throughout the town a few
men and woman wake, the ones who make the world
solid and familiar for the rest of us. Trash haulers and policemen,
paper carriers, nurses, truck drivers, bakers. Resolute, even brave,
with a dogged, determinedly unreflective bravery, they grope
with blind hands in the dark, clutching at the anchors
that will secure us all for one more day to our common lives.
Michael Adams copyright 2012
Good afternoon to all you poets, friends, and others out there. I’m just getting this website going and experimenting with this blog. Once I get a good feel for how this works I’ll post new work here, audio, and discussion topics, all open to comment. For now this is just to say hello. Please feel free to comment on the site.