I don’t create poetry, I create myself, for me my poems are a way to me.
I love this quote. It speaks volumes about why I write poetry. A way into myself. A pathway. Like Hansel and Gretel in the fairy tale following a trail of breadcrumb words as the path through the forest unconscious.
A fellow poet once told me that getting words down on paper for creative purposes is like taking dictation, and that one can simply write what one hears. In order to listen intensely, one must be silent. Close your eyes for a moment and you will realize sounds are clearer, easier to follow for a longer time. I am a very visual person so closing my eyes sharpens my other senses. The wind whispers in the spruce tree. Traffic on the highway is distant, and fades into the background. Snow melts and water gurgles down the drainpipe.
It is a real gift to focus solely on sound. Poems present themselves through the hearing sense as a short burst of insight or an interruption in energy and this highlights the correlation with an abstract, like a thought, a feeling, or an intuitive urge.
I tend to write in short phrases, part sentences, short spurts and couplets. In fact, I prefer that in prose too. Call them what you will, writing comes to me that way. Another reason to love poetry. To take dictation, one must listen to the voices within – voices of the ego, voices of reason, but especially words of the heart and the voice of Soul.
A writing instructor once commented that one must give a nod to writing conventions in poetry. I rebelled at the thought. In poetry, twisting the language, disregarding proper capitalization, or messing with punctuation is all part of the fun. In the flow of a river, there is an eloquent movement forward, and so it is with poetry regardless of the wandering nature of the words.
Following is a poem from Shadow Girls in the Spotlight one of my poetry books. I’ve inserted it here to illustrate this “way to me” concept. In the book, it is accompanied by a Reflection, a Soul Message and a Question for Reflection, just the way it appears here..
snowflakes cling to her eyebrows
leaf skeletons to her ragged shoes
the inner orphan annie
cries outside the frosty window
she wanders in the winter twilight
peeks in at lighted kitchens
abandoned waif with tattered heart
she has no hearth fire of her own
she bickers with her disowned selves
trying on faces in the glass
unsettled ragamuffin, survivor of unmet needs
she digs for scraps of self-acceptance
in the rubble heap of loneliness
she’s begging for a bellyful
of warmth and kindness
and loving home for all.
Annie’s Role: The Lost One
Reflection: When I was a child outside at night, I felt curious about other people’s lives when I looked into their lighted windows. Like a voyeur peeking into their lives, I was fascinated by the comfort and warmth they seemed to have. In the years after I left home, these lighted windows reminded of the childhood home from which I was separated.
I used to feel lost, as if others had security, love, and safety and I did not. After writing this poem, I began to see Annie as my Inner Orphan, a Shadow Self who needed a safe place inside me. She wanted a home for all the personality parts I had left out in the cold.
Heart Wisdom: You have a loving home in your heart for all your lost parts. All are welcome in your home.
Your Turn: Is your heart home safe? If not, what can you do to make it so?
Poetry is indeed “a way to me” and an exploration into my Shadow, and the masks that my Ego created to protect my Heart.
This blog is a reprint of an article published on my website on March 25, 2015 and has been edited from the earlier version.