Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Terrarium: A Poem

Relatively speaking, it's been rather a slow year for me and my poetry efforts.
"Efforts" is the wrong word to use though, because poetry should never be a struggle.
2011 was not exactly prolific. I'm OK with that, really.
Poetry, like love, cannot be forced.
I just write when an idea or a vision, or maybe an experience, takes over... and words form.
Usually I am dealing with a ratio of about 80% fiction to 20% reality, in my poetry. Sometimes it's 100% fiction. At other times, I'm at about 90% reality.
You can NEVER be at 100% reality, because as soon as you put something into words it is not what it once was. And that's not to say it is less.... most often it is more.
And you add a few percentage points for someone else reading it.
I think the need for language itself eats up that 10% of reality, no matter how close to "reality" a writer attempts to transmit an idea or a feeling.
A Robert Bateman painting [the epitome of detail, and I have one] will never be as true as a photograph. But neither is it meant to be. Thirdly, nothing beats a real tiger, staring you in the face. But the beauty though, of art, has nothing to do with reality. It's never about what is or was, but it is always about what could never be, until now. The beauty of art lies in its transferability.
I have a cache of almost 400 poems... or what I would call poems. Some people might just call them sentences strung together. If you were to study them in chronological sequence [not all of them appear in blog-format] you would find a movement from structure and rhyme scheme, to arbitrariness, free-verse, and abstraction.
I am thankful for this evolution in my writing, and I attribute my attitude of bravery to my exposure to Billy Collins [a master of the written moment] who taught me, without saying it in so many words, that everything is poetry.
I encourage you to try it.
Write about the difference between how your vaccination scar feels today, compared to the day you received the shot. Write one specific memory of a deceased loved one. Your grandmother's rhubarb pie. Your uncle's barn. The way a candle went out when you opened the window.
But most importantly, write about none of these things I have mentioned. Write about what matters to you.
Just write stuff -- it's fun. It's..... poetic.
One day you and I will not be able to do this, and so we should do it, now.
So many many things that you saw today, or that happened to you, or that you felt, or saw in your mind's eye -- are a poem, longing to get out.


As my father set the thing up I watched,
heart set on a bike, a Mizuno catcher's mitt.
Confusion trebled with the dumping of ants.

This will teach you about industry, production.
And it did, it did that. Day after day, tunneling
against the sides, they carried. Endless lifting.

A frantic community intent on thriving, thrived
under my gaze. But I hated the invisibility of
needless desire. The lack of leisure -- love.

-- © Ciprianowords, Inc. 2011 --

For more of my poems, click --> HERE.


Beth said...

One of the best discourses on poetry I’ve ever read. (Actually, it reads like poetry…)

Your terrarium also taught you how not to live. :)

Have a wonderful Christmas – may Santa bring you whatever it is you’re wishing for – but only if you’ve been good this year…

Cipriano said...

Thank you Beth for your lovely comment regarding my thoughts on poetry.
And for the Christmas wishes.
I hope you have a terrific holiday time with those crazy boys of yours.

Melwyk said...

I agree with Beth. This is a great essay on poetry (and love your poetry, please keep sharing). I may have to refer to some of your concepts when teaching poetry to some groups who don't seem to think they have any poetry in their lives. You have encapsulated why and how poetry is a part of everyone's life.

Cipriano said...

Thank you, Melwyk.
Kind words, always welcome here in Amateur-Poetry World!

Anonymous said...

True love is forced. Its usually something you don't want to do for someone you may not like. Romantic love is shallow. All the TV love people ate acustomed to is from the shallow end of the love pool.