The Poets

July 29, 2010

Poetic Folly Redeemed

"Drawing a deadline upon a poem is like forcing a flower's bloom."

Inasmuch as the writing of poetry is concerned there are many things I've come to learn not to do. One of those things would be forcing a poem's completion.

Thankfully this has seldom happened- in fact, I can only think of two poems in particular whose 'publication' seemed a little premature: one I posted on this blog a little over a year ago; the other I dedicated to an artist friend in '08.

This blog concerns the one I posted here on May 22nd of last year. It was meant to be a sonnet whose subject was a series of questions pertaining to the relationship of the artist's disposition to that of his or her work. The idea I had was simple enough, but expressing it adequately and by means of meter and rhyme scheme proved- like any other poem- to be a challenge.

Shortly thereafter an eagerness to have it finished and complete overcame my senses, and before I knew it it was posted. I felt icky about it for the longest time and promised myself never to post a poem or call it complete unless my heart felt it to be ... and so I haven't.

Last week I decided to reengage that poem and make it right. When I completed it (for real, this time) I felt my aesthetic conscience clear and that 'icky feeling' lifted. Moreover, the revised poem is exactly what my mind intended to produce last year.

The prematurely posted poem is in the comments area if you'd like to read that as well, but the revised form of it is below. Let me know what your thoughts are.

Does the Pure Heart a Better Poet Make

Does the pure heart a better poet make,
Whose inner frame is as by God begot-
Swaying, shaping what the writer would take,
And by this inspiration mold the plot?
Or may an impure soul take up the dye
And scribe onto the canvas-page the same-
Be moved, as it were, by the Muses' cry
Though heart be vile, or morally maim?
Are both, scribing their words, Poetry's heir
(So that neither virtue nor vice opposed
Might hard contend for which author is dear;
That, judgeless, she takes in what each composed),
Or is it that her Muse will choose her heirs
And divide, as with sickle, wheat from tares?



John W. May said...

Does Propriety a Better Poet Make?

Does propriety a better poet make-
Where principles are as by God begot
Within recesses deep where one might take
The musing inspiration from and plot?

Or is it skill and will and wicked dye
That sink into the canvas'd page aframe-
That have aught to share but a holy cry-
Which makes a poet, though morally maim?

Are both- scribing their words- Poetry's heir
So that neither virtue nor vice opposed
Might blemish all their written pages fair-
Where enmity of claim aren't presupposed?

Or will poetry's Muse come choose her heirs
Dividing with stained sickle wheat from tares?

Obiterspeak said...

Hello, John. You bring up an interesting issue here - i.e. how (or else to what extent) the poet or the artist intends a work. Also, the question of whether the work is all the better for having been intended - for being what the poet/artist intends or is content with. This is something i've been trying to get my head around lately and well... that is work in progress and not entirely satisfying :-)

In the sonnet/s, you suggest a more difficult question still(or so it seems to me) concerning the justification of works - i.e. are works apparently flawed,unfaithful or born of ignoble/less noble intentions as "entitled" (is this the right word, i wonder) as works born of virtue/virtuosity, a pure heart or noble intentions? This enquiry goes to the very heart of what we recognise as the grace or graces that come from God. Do we limit providence or providential good to what is only satisfying to us or to everything that we can (sooner or later) regard as meaningful or formative?

Comparing the two sonnets, i note the differences in your choice of words/phrases whereby you seem to achieve greater definition (i.e. the meaning you intend to convey), the tweaking of it in terms of musicality and flow... the comparison makes me appreciate your desire to improve upon (the advantages of the latter sonnet) what you create even as I value that (the more spontaneous conviction of theinitial sonnet) you seek to improve upon. Both sonnets (or so it seems to me) come from a pure heart and entitled :-)

The entire blog entry illustrates the beauty of blog publication - the facility to change/transform the work and to permit the poem (as with the poet) to remain alive/dynamic rather than dead from being made so permanent and certain.

Da other Part of 'Zo said...

Literally, my response to this is: "You've upset me"...Lol. You know that you're a good poet when someone reads your pieces and envy is struck. The way you caress the words to flow in such a way that expresses your sentiment yet still stays true to the form is simply amazing...YOU GOT CHOPS JWM...YOU'VE GOT CHOPS!!! LOL. Keep it up brotha.

John W. May said...

The truth, you guys, is that I've read most of the poems of each of your sites and am utterly fortunate to have met you here.

Obiterspeak: I love love love the sonnet you wrote to your husband. Like all your other works you employ language classically and in a most beautiful way. The subjects of your poems are expressed with a poetic talent that's beyond reproach ... your site is one of my favorite to visit, whether to read or re-read. You're great poet.

Da other Part of 'Zo: I've yet to read all of your poems (I've read quite a few, however); but man, you're the one with 'the chops'. What I dig about you is that you seek out specific poetic forms and employ them with effortless talent ... from rhyme royals to sonnets, from villanelles to sestinas- awesome stuff! Another great poet- very pleased to meet you.

PJ said...

I don't know, but I always get a "classic"-vibe from your stuff. The words and so on... Good stuff.

As of April 9th, 2010