Meanwhile…I continue to revise like a demon as well as churning out new poems. I have been working on a sequence of poems inspired by the full moon, though we are actually coursing towards the dark moon as I write this weekly chronicle of my writing life. Let me just say this. Revision is far harder than the initial phases of producing drafts of a poem. I can chaw over two lines for days, change a word of two only, and then worry some more as I walk the Little Dog down the lane. On the other hand, I find that I slash lines without any emotion at all. Some lines just don’t pay the rent on their tenacy ; you just have to be a heartless landlord and evict them. Many poems that originally appeared in the 365 Poem A Day Project now look quite different. There are new ones too that I am holding back from sharing in the blog. You need surprises in a solo collection.
The thing to take in consideration is that when writers are not writing, often they are writing. The dog walking is not just exercise, it is mulling over those lumpy lines. Housework, too, can allow your mind to free float on titles and phrases. The late Dermot Healy was absolutely right when he said that reading counted as writing. Writers are like magpies. We spy nice shiny ideas and we horde them for when we can take them out and upcycle them.
Switching off is important for the writing life, too. The textile art class I take in our village plays a big part in flipping the brain hemisphere emphasis. A movie marathon with friends this week was also pure indulgence. A technical hitch with one of my devices has basically unplugged me from social media while the iPad mini is in the repair shop. (I keep the laptop for email and writing work and then plug into social media on another device. It helps with the focus is you don’t have messages pinging at you. I have just decided I will not freak about lower stats. Who needs to find me will find me and my work.)
The point is just to keep at it… And I have, diligently, often for hours on end, kept at it these past few weeks, writing, walking away from the draft, reviewing it a couple days later, tweaking some more. Repeat.
This Sunday’s poem is still fairly fresh, with the ink committed to page just yesterday morning, though the idea had been rolling around in my head from the day before that. So it is still technically a work in progress. Inspiration came from just looking out my windows.
Blackbird and Hawk
High up, they spy,
looking out from their tree tops,
and catch my eye,
facing me as if to speak.
Blackbird’s beak blazes bright
in early morning’s gloaming.
Then, in afternoon’s dying light
Hawk surveys, appraising me.
These are the day’s gatekeepers.
the swinging open, the shutting close.
One sings. One is poised to leap and dive.
I do not begrudge Hawk the mouse,
or its race against hare.
We feed Blackbird’s fellows well.
Hawk needs other fare,
its fiercesome eye, chilling blood.
Both see from on high.
Blackbird sings us stories.
With Hawk, all is nigh,
saying it straight, without the fable.
Copyright © 2019 Bee Smith. All rights reserved