I don’t know if I have written about this in my blog before, but I like poetry. I mean, I’ve been keeping a blog fairly religiously for years now, so it’s fair to say that I like writing. I’ve written a couple short stories in my time and eventually I want to complete a novel. But in the meantime… poetry.
There was a time in my life (in my early to mid 20’s and into my 30’s) where I was writing poetry. I would experiment wit different forms and structure, etc. And I know this will sound snobbish, but for me poetry has to have a definite structure to it for me to like it. Structure meaning rhyme scheme or specific meter and feet. I don’t think of free verse as poetry— it’s more just bougie prose.
So most of my poetry is metrical in some fashion. And a poem for me usually starts as some interesting metrical and florid sentence fragment or idea. And then I’ll scribble it down and scribble some adjacent thoughts. And then see if I can make it into a coherent idea with rhyme. And the rhyme scheme I vary in order to get the flow. Like A-B-A-B or AABB or AABBA OR ABCAC… you get the idea.
And therein lies the fun for me.
I love the challenge of trying to get a coherent picture across in a constrained metrical structure. And then the delicious challenge of trying to find the mot juste that fits the meter and rhyme scheme and still conveys what I want it to convey. Scouring the English language for words is the fun (and often supremely frustrating) part.
While I finish poems (rarely are they finished in one setting or without multiple edits) I don’t know if I’m ever satisfied with them. None of them feel “perfect” or fully realized to me. So I almost never share them with anyone. I just don’t want folks reading them and going, “Eh.”
This frustration and disappointment led me to kind of stop writing poems for awhile. Like a long while. But then we had chorus on Tuesday night. And a couple of the songs we are singing have such nice lyrics and form that it got my juices flowing. (We also sang a composition by our director where I may have contributed some of the lyrics, so…)
So I wrote a poem yesterday. It was based on Carl Sagan and his Cosmos work. The germ for the idea was Carl’s quote about us being made of “star stuff”. I always liked that. Star stuff. I guess I was thinking about it because we’re singing a piece about stars set to a poem by Sara Teasdale (I quite like her).
Anyway. Star stuff. So I googled this and googled Carl and watched a couple video clips of Carl talking about our connection to the stars. I jotted down some of the language he used— And ideas started to flow.
The initial fragments of ideas I came up with were:
Galactic children born
From fiery mantles torn
Forged in nuclear hearts
So I have mostly formed poem now. Again, I’m not fully happy with it, so there may be edits to come. But I think I’d like to use it and set it to music. Music that I also write.
We’ll see though. We’ll see if I can let go of the idea of perfection enough to let it go out into the world.
EDIT: I revisited the poem today. I revised my syllabic structure to 7 beats per line. Adjusted some wording. Moved a line or two around. And I gotta say— this is I think one of the most profound and pleasing poems I’ve created. I’m kind of chuffed about it!