Archive for July, 2009

A Girl And A Poem

“And it was at that age…Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating planations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke free on the open sky.”

~ Pablo Neruda

I was thinking the other day about how I first started to write poetry.
Or rather, was trying to figure out when or how or why it started.

I love Pablo Neruda’s poem about the poetic process because it describes the roots of how poetry is born so well.

Why does a poet write a poem? Just because.

Because you need to and you have to.
Because the song sings inside you and needs to fly up and out of you.
Because you have this emotion crashing inside your heart, your brain, your soul and you want to share it.
Because it’s part of the healing process.
Because it’s a piece of heaven yearning to go back where it came from.
Because it’s a gift that someone out there needs to hear.
Because it’s a celebration of life and death.
Because it’s a universe of possibilities and timescapes:
what was, what is, what will be, what might become.
Because it’s a way to move on.
Because it’s any kind of release, joyous or sad, elated or anguished, that is necessary.
Because it’s true life, fiction, and every form in between.
Because it’s a story shaped by how it makes you feel.

It would be a hard thing for me to tell you at what age I started to write poetry.

It was the first form of creative writing I learned in school and as soon as I saw it, felt it, savoured it, I had to do it myself.

I do remember my first poetic love: the haiku.
I still love haikus, the challenge of their structure, and their evocative dance.

I’ve gone on to write other things and other styles in my life. Articles, short stories, blogs (of course), and even the three books I’ve started and never quite finished.

But the poetry will always live in me and need to be set free.

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Video Montage: The Flow
Following the flow of the universe, with a photo montage I created. The song is "Twisted Hair" by Robbie Robertson & The Red Road Ensemble, featuring the sublime operatic voice of Sioux singer Bonnie Jo Hunt, who sings over the sound of crickets.
Also posted on youtube:

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