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Saturday, 12 May 2012

When a poem
comes into the world
line by line, unaware
of what it will become,
when words appear by magic on the page
only to feel their way towards another line,
it's obvious they're blind -
but getting there.

And then the final mystery - how can it be?
Between the lines
synapses grow -
the poem's own -
allowing metaphors and images to flow
like current through a grid,
to form allusions and
illuminate each other.

And then we send it out into the world.
Still blind and feeling its way forward,
of what is there or not, but now
of who will love and who cold-shoulder it,
to gain experience and grow
in true significance
in the world's ways.

This is my submission to http://poetryjaam.blogspot.co.uk/ (Poetry Jam)'s The Blind Leading the Blind prompt for this week.


cloudia charters said...

Your work pleases me so much!

Warm Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

The Unknowngnome said...

Just like sending our children off into the world. This poem has set images to flow. Good one Dave.

haricot said...

Words have really mysterious influence on us in a good way and sometimes in a terrible way as well. Yours go for the former, of course!

The Elephant's Child said...

Not only the birth, but the development and emancipation of a poem. Thanks Dave - I loved it.

Windsmoke. said...

Nice one once again :-).

Anonymous said...

This is very lovely, Dave, and particularly true of blogged poetry, I think, which is especially unsure of itself! Before all of this technology, I used to have things hanging around months, years, before every showing them! It's both good and bad, but mainly good--your poem describes it "feelingly," (as Gloucester would say, but much more happily.) k.

Brian Miller said...

smiles...this makes me think of our poems as children and watching them grow up you know...smiles....very nice man...

Jim Murdoch said...

I can’t imagine there are many of us who haven’t written—or at least thought—something along those lines. Here’s my contribution to this particular canon:



      The poem came back today.

      "Why won't you write me ?"
      it asked.

      "What use am I in your head ?

      "They won't start to like you
      even if you hide me, besides,
      I'll glare out of your eyes
      at them.

      "And what'll you do then ?

      "I will be born.
      One way or another.
      And you will love me."


      Finally I gave in
      and wrote the poem too soon
      and it lay on the page
      twisted and malformed.

      "Dad - help me," it cried
      and I went to tear it up.

      But I couldn't do it.


      "What sex am I ?"
      the poem asked.

      "You are a boy."

      "Then there is life in me.
      I shall go and sleep
      with a virgin mind."


      My poem came home today.

      "Dad - nobody understands me.
      I don't think they even like me."

      "Don't worry son -
      they don't understand me either."

      30 March 1989

Helen said...

I can say ~ with certainty ~ I've never read a more truthful, insightful description of what it feels like to compose a poem. No matter a person's skill, talent - the process is real.

Mama Zen said...

I love this!

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

I can share this, in particular the poem "entering" the world, and it's a hard, hard experience being "cold-shouldered"...

Mary said...

I love this, Dave! Writing is an interesting process, isn't it? It does seem sometimes that words appear blindly out of nowhere and end up making some semblance of sense and even perhaps having a deeper meaning, and then we send our poem out to the world with 'blind faith.' A fascinating perspective in your poem. Thanks for jamming with us this week.

Mary said...

P.S. Dave...I hope you will head over to Poetry Jam and link this poem. I just checked to see if it was there, thinking it would be, and found you hadn't done the Mr. Linky thing. Please share.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Love this Dave.

Also love how poems evolve into something completely different from the first thought, the first line, the first stanza...

Anna :o]

A Cuban In London said...

Your beauty left me with moist eyes. It's almost what happens to parents/carers when they see their offspring grow up and up sticks, isn't it? They're the metaphors for age and (hopefully) wisdom. What a well-crafted and beautiful paean to the art of writing poems.

Many thanks. I thoroughly enjoyed that.

Greetings from London.

Dave King said...


The Unknowingnome
Exactly like that, I agree. Thanks.

Much thanks for this, I'm really glad you think my words beneficial, and of course, you are correct, they do indeed have a mysterious influence on us.

The Elephant's Child
Oh yes, the full story. Nothing less than! Thanks too.


That almost exactly replicates my story. It was fascinating to hear. I wonder how common it is.

I do see them in that way - sometimes!

Excellent poem. Thank you so much for showing it. I chuckled not a little reading it, there's an undercurrent of a quite delicious humour which appeals to me and somehow helps the serious aspects to root more effectively.

An excellent point you raise. You are right: it doesn't matter about the author's skill level (nor, therefore, the "quality" of the poem), in this we - and our poems - are all equal, I think.

Mama Zen
Good to know. Thanks.

Yes, it's a universal experience, I'm sure.

Thanks so much for this. Your thoughts reflect mine almost exactly.
Sorry about not linking. I thought I had!!! (I have now.)

Very much part of the fascination, I think. Thanks.

Ygraine said...

The birth of a poem has always facinated me.
Where do they come from?
How do they climb into our minds?
They certainly seem to have a mind of their own, don't they?
Very thought-provoking, as ever, Dave :)

cloudia charters said...

Have since though much about this piece and it's spot-on description of the emergence of a Poem.

Something true, observed, valuable, exciting! Something the less subtle cannot see. Pity-

cloudia charters said...

Rilke (seems to me) wrote lines about pale, cold words marching in columns, joy coloring their cheeks as he orders them into poems, which delights them! If you find that poem - do send it on. It's my 'white whale.' and I oft think on it - or was it a childhood fancy or out of print translation?

Peggy said...

I like the way you almost took the point of view of the poem itself -- being formed and then venturing out into the world, still blind. Thanks for linking at Poetry Jam. I also like your poem in honor of Maurice Sendak. Write on.

Mary Mansfield said...

I also feel quite often like I'm sending blind little bits of words out into the world to grow into something more. Love the idea of poems growing their own synapses, becoming sentient beings floating through the universe. Thanks for playing along at Poetry Jam!

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