#NewThisDay Writing From My Photo Stream
How You Know a Poem is Finished
No one knows what it is you’re seeking.
You bargain and begin. Soon enough, fail.
So many more beginnings than you bargained
for. If you find a draft you love a little, hate a lot,
sleep. Wake and revise to the point of ruin. Keep
dreaming and beginning. Write as badly as you
must. When you find a draft you like a little, hate
less, read every word out loud. Revise. Record
your voice speaking line after line. Again. When
what you’ve said sounds almost true or beautiful
hit stop. Walk or run where a tree like a willow is
rooted, especially near a body of water in motion.
Listen. Listen to the poem someone recorded.
Keep walking, running, listening. Return. Sleep,
dream, wake, revise, record, repeat. Repeat each
step until the poem someone found sounds like a
tree bending over the river, giving thanks.
Copyright Kelly DuMar, published in All These Cures, 2015
Freeze, thaw, freeze thaw. It's cold once again, and so we are back on our preferred trail across the brook. Tonight is my weekly poetry group so, as I walk in the woods I am also listening to a recording I made of my poem in progress, for fine tuning. This is a practice I have found works very well for hearing what's missing and appreciating the many layers and levels of what is already there.
All text and photos copyright Kelly DuMar 2018