Sunday, March 6, 2011

Line by line

When you read this poem,

don't forget, I didn't write it.

I have to think my poems,

working them line by line

whenever there is free time.

Mostly, I start with one line

and the poem takes on a different shape

over a succession of days.

Sometimes, I am so desperate

to edit, that I change a word

in a conversational lull

or between mouthfuls of soup.

But it can happen,

that the poem itself takes control,

putting up roadworks, diversions

to prevent me reaching my goal.

Its like being in Wellington

expecting to set out for

Invercargill, only to find oneself

snowed in on the Desert Road.

And even when finished

it still has to be transferred

from one medium to another:

a thought poem is not the same

as a written poem.

It's as if I've had to

introduce a translator and you know

how difficult that is.

If for you, hills are green

and rolling, you are not

going to anticipate that, for me,

they are tawny, volcanic outcrops

otherwise known as Banks Peninsular.

I'm not even sure whether

I can claim the poem as my own,

but who else does it belong to?

1 comment:

  1. really good thinking. such a labour and commitment to think the poem and THEN communicate it to the person who will write it up. Is there one carer that's better suited to the poetry aspect of working with you? Lovely tho' that the outcome, the poem itself, changes as a reflection of the way it is developed. Viv xxx