Thursday, November 11, 2004

Accidental Poetry

" A poem always has elements of accident about it, which can be made the subject of inquest afterwards,but there is always a risk in conducting your own inquest: you might begin to believe the coroner in yourself rather than put your trust in the man in you who is capable of the accident." -- Seamus Heaney

It was not long ago that I did a minimalist poem that I was rather pleased with upon completion. Completion being such a final word and I so often have the problem of accepting that a poem, any poem I write, is finished. On occasion I'll read the work of someone else and think of modifications. I don't do that often. It is far easier to see someone's work in print and accept that as final. My own is another story.

It is the fact that I could sit back with some sense of satisfaction that allowed me to see this particular work as in completion. I posted the poem to a form I participate in and no one commented on it for days. When someone did, there were two back to back. One loved it and offered no changes, questions or suggestions whatsoever. The other commented one a line break they felt was rather cleaver and offered a couple of other ideas they had.

In reading these posts, I went back to the poem and found that I saw it in a different light. I had no desire to change it. I just felt it was saying something else to me. I have come to accept the possibilities that poetry opens up even to the poet him/herself.
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