Reading Leads to Writing

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.


2 thoughts on “Reading Leads to Writing

  1. of course, reading leads to writing. that’s the practice of a poet. breathing in, breathing out. hear a good story, tell a good story. and in the process make it our own. that’s always been the way of storytelling…

    After Li Po

    The Birds

    have long lifted up
    as a flock & flown

    Only a lonely Cloud floats by

    the Two of us
    lost in our looking

    the Mountain & I

  2. Yes, I always find reading someone else’s poetry, even listening, turns my crank, starts me writing. I do feel a little funny about it but Art has set me straight.

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