Saturday, July 16, 2011

True Poets

The following excerpt is from a novel by Frank Delaney called Ireland:

"Nobody can actually write a poem. There's no such act as writing a poem. That's not how poems are made. Oh, yes, there's the physical business of a pen, ink, and paper - but that isn't whence the poem comes. Nor may you send out and fetch a poem from where it's been living. No, like it or not, you have to wait for a poem to arrive.

The people we call "poets," by which I mean true, real poets - they're merely very keen listeners who've learned to recognize when a poem is dropping by..... The thing about true poets is - they never have to wait. Some say they are born lucky. They long to eat a hazelnut, and next thing a man walks past their front door with a bag of nuts and he offers him one.... Poets are like that with poems. No sooner do they listen out than a poem swoops down, whispers something to the top of their heads, and they feel it flowing down into their brain, down along their arms, into their fingers and out onto the page in black letters.

And poets are like angels. They visit often, but you've got to be watching out for them, and you've to believe in them to benefit from their gifts."

Now ask yourself, are you a true poet? I like to think that I am. Sometimes a thought will pop into my head, and I just start writing until I have a poem. Some poems take only a few minutes to write. Others take hours, days, weeks, months, and even years. But I keep a notebook of all of these thoughts, and periodically look over them until the poem comes together just right.

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