So I took apart a few of my old poems. They’ve been on blocks for a while, just rusting away. They never worked as whole poems, you see, but there were lines worth saving, so I used these to draft another poem. To this I added some few newly composed lines, and the result was descent enough. Still, it needed work.
As you can see, I hacked away at the thing, and rewrote a few lines altogether. This is what a real poem looks like, by the by, as the poet figures out what the poem wants to be. That’s the job. ‘Creativity’ is for those without the calling to make poems. We don’t ‘create’ anything – we figure out what the poem wants to be, applying whatever skill and learning we may have. It’s a fine way to spend an evening, making something that will, if done well, show something of the beauty, goodness, and truth of being.
Well, the revisions are pretty much done, and the second draft works much better than the first. Here it is.
When young I’d lay in a pasture
to feel the earth’s soft curvature,
the scent of oranges on the air,
and even then stare long into
the night where all is lost and all
restored, to find that love that’s hard
to bear, stone breaking stone.
Now we stand upon a northern
lakeshore, moon’s receding light
in a star-filled sky raised high
above this threshing floor, a breeze
cold and dry. Youth has fled – it makes
me glad to say it, soft, this night.
Love, let us grow ever older.