Friday, April 30, 2010

On Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, and I fear I have reached the last day of the month without paying any homage to something I so deeply love. Like Jesse Stuart, I want to call out:

Hold onto April: never let her pass!Another year before she comes again…

But April has passed. Or will after the day ends. And I have spent it immersed in grant writing and Chasing Light…, when I wasn't chasing bills and laundry and all of the various and sundry things that came across my path this month.

The closest I got to poetry this month was watching the middle school poetry jam that was a Chasing Light… community event. That and catching some shards that our visiting composer used in his talks.

I used to write poetry. A lot of poetry. Poetry fascinated me, poetry held me. It was the warp and the woof of my most inner self. As late as my early 40s, I had a folder, some six inches thick, that contained poems and fragments of poems and ideas for poems dating back more than two decades.

But those were very bleak times and after one too many post-midnight inquisitions by an unstable spouse as to "who are you writing about?" or "what does this line mean?" or "what are you hiding?," I took the folder to the office and spent three hours shredding every last piece of poetry I had ever written.

My words were too dangerous to own.

I was numb as I sat there feeding the sheets into the shredder. That was a good thing, because otherwise I would have dropped to the floor from a broken heart that day.

Sometimes lines from the shredded works come back to me, like little ghosts. They shimmer and rustle in the air, fading away if I try too hard to sound them out.

Sometimes I think about writing poetry again. This week, spending time with our visiting composer and hearing him talk about composing music, I have found my thoughts often drifting to poetry.

Could I write poetry again? Will I remember how it feels to kindle words into light? Will I still know how to do it?

I don't know. Not counting an occasional parody or some light verse, I've only written two poems since the Day of the Shredder. Neither has been read aloud, not even to Warren.

Time will tell. It's another year until April comes again.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

April, pick up the torch! Your own light must shine through.