Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Trying to Write One More Poem

I used to write a lot of poetry. Now, not so much.  Some time around 2008 I laid aside my poet’s quill in favor of a prose keyboard. Up until then I’d been doing both together. But it seemed that my creative juices had dried up as far as poetry is concerned.

While my poems cover a range of topics and forms, including a few free verse attempts, my main work to date is my book Father Daughter Day. It comprises 39 poems that tell the story of a day a dad promised to spend with his daughter, then did so after some hesitation. It’s not a heavy conflict story, but rather a feel good story. The only real conflict is in the two longest poem: one a saga told by a mistral at a state park they visit; the other a whimsical personifications of animals, plants, and rocks at the same park as they watch humans on their turf.
I started this around 2003 (though one or two of the poems pre-dates that; I just didn’t know they would fit into this book) and finished it around 2006. I say finished, because I always planned on adding one to three more poems. Why didn’t I do it right then, in 2006, instead of setting poetry aside in favor of prose? The short answer is I probably should have just kept going. The longer answer relates to those creative juices. I needed to do something else. Who knew that, when the time came to get the last little bit done, eight years would have passed?
Now, since I’ve decided to self-publish FDD without messing with getting it illustrated, the decision on these poems has become critical. How many of these do I actually need to make the story complete? Can I get them done in a reasonable period of time? Will the story be “seamless” with them—or without them? And will they stand alone as well as fit seamlessly into the story?

I’ve about decided I only need one more: a bedside prayer poem by the daughter. I had thought of adding one more by the father (I already have two by him). I have a couple of poems in the daughter’s voice, but not prayers. I think I really need that one, and probably another haiku or cinquain along beside it. I even know what form I want the prayer poem in.
But I can’t seem to write it. I’ve started it multiple times, but never seem to get more than a couple of lines into it before the ideas die. Is it because I’m so distracted by my prose projects that my mind can’t shift to poetry? If so, maybe I just need to get these other works done and up for sale, and then take the time I need for the poem and its book. The problem is there are a hundred prose projects waiting in the wings after I finish these. Who’s to say I’ll ever be able to push them from my mind long enough to concentrate on the poems?

No, I think I need to somehow carve out poetry time in the midst of prose, and somehow get the poem done. Or maybe the lack of inspiration shows I 1) don’t need the poem, or 2) I’ve chosen the wrong form for it. Maybe I need to just write the poem out in prose and see how it sounds, then see if I can write a poem based on the prose. I don’t know for sure what I should do.
What I need is an evening when I’ll be sitting in a City Council meeting, waiting for a presentation our firm will make. I shouldn’t be the presenter, but be there to support the presenter and answer questions if he can’t. We might be sitting there an hour before getting up to speak. While the city fathers drone on with their routine business waiting to get to us, perhaps I can write the prayer out, see what the girl will say in her prayer about the day, where they went, what she did; about her mom and baby brother; about other things. From there, I need some time where I’ll be forced to be away from the computer to see if the poem will flow from that short prose. Yes, I’ll look for these times, then I’ll report back.

Over and out for now.

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