I used to write a lot of poetry, used to dream I’d be a poet some day.
In all my visions of my future life, there were always these slim little volumes of poetry by yours truly on a shelf somewhere that I’d written and had published. There was always this piece in among the rest of the pieces of my future dreaming. I’d have a home that I felt at home in, a love that was true & lasting, a garden I’d tend religiously, friendships that would stand the test of time, and poems. Many, many poems.
I worked hard at this dream. I was a member of several poetry communities. I produced e-zines that featured poets from all over the world – two of which were actually listed in Poetry Market. I was good at creating spaces for other poets, and I wrote reams and reams of poetry, but I never quite broke into that *as a poet*.
This is one of those dreams that died on the vine. Not because I didn’t try hard enough. Not because I wasn’t a good poet. But because, I believe, life had other plans for me. Something about knowing that, about sitting here in the midst of that other plan, that new dream, takes the sting out of the failure to become what I dreamed I’d become.
I think I get to reach way more people this way, through mixed media art and art journaling, than I ever could as a poet. And besides, teaching pays better. Way better. And poetry would always have been a side gig whereas this has become my main thing.
Still. There are days when I miss the routine of making poems.
Much like what I do now with art journaling, poetry was a practice. I had a system. I would sit down and write out the contents of my head and heart, looking for the vein of gold in all the blather. Once I found it, I’d pluck it out of muck and mire of everyday life, and I’d sit with it, taking the long look at it to find out where it might lead me.
And it always led me somewhere.
The years I spent with poetry practice didn’t go to waste. I learned so much about beginning with an initial spark of interest, desire, or inspiration and following it through. I learned about letting go of some things to make room for others. I learned about trusting the process, knowing when to stop. All of those skills have become a part of my art journaling practice.
And if I’m being honest, I’m still a poet. I’m a *visual* poet. I use colour, symbol, and image in combination with words, so nothing was lost in letting that dream die. Its loss made room for other dreams – dreams I’m currently living.
But, still. I miss poetry. I wish it would find its way back to me again.
And maybe now that I’ve said it out loud, it will.
9 Willow St.
Walking through Mount Hope, I notice
graves so old the ground has sunk
a body’s curve down, and as bowls of earth,
fill up with water or fallen leaves.
The rows are named like street signs
after Maple, oak, yew,
and each plot is numbered like a house,
though only on a map kept
in the caretaker’s desk,
ready for gentle rapping on door
and the question:
Where is my mother, father, child, lover?
I have lost my way
in all this row upon row of
sun-dappled, weathered stone.
I decide that when I’m dead,
I want to live on 9 Willow St.
Nine has always been my number.
I like the way it looks fetal,
that it is the last single digit number
before things get complicated
by the addition of ones
and twos and so on.
Nine reaches for the completion of ten.
It feels unfinished, anticipatory.
It feels like something on the brink,
like I have always been.
Then there is the matter of willows.
I spent my childhood up one.
It taught me bending without breaking.
It was cut down, and I learned
how we all break in the end.
I’ll need no stone or epitaph.
‘Nine’ and ‘Willow’ will tell my life.
The bowl of earth I make in time
will be a grassy doorway
into my next incarnation
as maggot food or shade tree
or restless shade or ash.
I take comfort in that.
Today’s Nudge: Write about a dream you once had that you let go of, and where that led you.
There’s a bunch of us blogging along in September. Find out more here, or pop your email address in the box below, and I’ll send you a nudge to blog every day along with a link to my daily writings.