Sunday 18 April 2010

It will protect you

Knowing I'd be away for the first week or more of April, I didn't consider joining Na(or in my case Int)
PoWrimo. But when I got home I was delighted and inspired by the daily poems my friends Ivy, Maria and Beth were writing: two fine published poets and another fine published writer, and publisher of poetry, whose own writing is more often in other genres (or is it? All good writing distills words and gives attention to cadence). 

I'm surprised, to say the least, to have managed a week of little daily poems, aided no doubt by unwonted post-retreat spaciousness of mind. That's fading, of course, and I've no idea if I can continue. All of these were, ahem, spontaneous and without any forethought for subject or, apart from the haiku, for form - rather obviously, I fear, but you have to start somewhere, and this exercise too has value. If I do continue I probably should challenge myself to write to a form.

Inspired by Dave, I've been reading some poetry too, both well-loved and new to me.  I took down the Collected Poems of a favourite poet, Elaine Feinstein, and it fell open at this one. Oh!

The Muse
by Elaine Feinstein

'Write something every day', she said,
'even if it's only a line,
it will protect you.'

How should this be?
Poetry opens no cell,
heals no hurt body,

brings back no lover,
altogether, poetry is
powerless as grass. 

How then should it defend us?
Only by strengthening
our fierce and obstinate centres.

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Mortal by Ivy Alvarez
Mapmaker of Absences by Maria Benet 
Going to Heaven by Elizabeth Adams
Phoenicia Publishing 
Collected Poems and Translations by Elaine Feinstein


Fire Bird said...

oh yes!!

alembic said...

I was going to write to say that I hope you will continue with the daily poems, when I saw that you did -- at least for today! And that's what it takes, as Feinstein also suggests. About a week into writing those small haikus I wanted to give up too, especially because the 17-syllable limit felt so constricting, but I keep telling myself each day that I only have to write just one.

Dave said...

I love "poetry is powerless as grass." And I think Maria's right: just take it one at a time, and don't get too attached to the results. Your poems are a great addition to the mix here.

Beth said...

Thank you, Jean, for these little powerless but powerful poems and for the wonderful reminder from Feinstein! I've wanted to give up this month, too, but like Maria, I keep telling myself they're little and I can surely manage one more...and, strangely, I do feel the writing of these few lines protects me. Hope you do too.

Ivy said...

Thank you, Jean. I'm so glad my burblings haven't put you off writing your own. :-D x

Ivy said...

Bah! 'burblings' = mine, of course. And definitely, defiantly, does not apply to you.

You know for someone who claims to write poetry, I can be somewhat inelegant sometimes. :-) x

Jean said...

Ivy, oh, it definitely does apply to me! But what pleasure it's giving me to burble daily!