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Tuesday 15 January 2013

A Middling Poet

A Middling poet...
He thought it of himself.
Most everyone agreed.
He wrote for a small circle
and was happy with his lot.

But then, with his first --
and his last --
long poem
his  prospect changed.
He saw at once --
no missing it! --
he'd sired a masterpiece.

What should he do?
Attempt to publish it?
Cold, uncomprehanding eyes
might rubbish it...
He kept it to himself,
sharing it with no one.
Not a soul.
Not family or friend.

He gave up other reading,
lived inside its pages
began to read it constantly,
and tweak it as he read.
A word, a dot, a comma changed;
but nothing changed 
as much as he.
Each cadence savoured...
and then savoured once again!

He had no time for eating  now.
Washing, sleep, T.V. and radio,
all things of yesteryear.
And then one day
a new obsession struck:
verbose, not dense enough,
needs paring down.
He'd make it lean and hungry like.
And this he did.

They found him 
and the manuscript
like double suicides,
together on the bed.
The two pared down
beyond the point
at which life might survive.


Misterio Vida said...

at first glance i thought it is a meddling poet! ..beautiful as always by you... and the double suicide..brilliant :)

Brian Miller said...

they found him and the manuscript like a double suicide...ugh...nice way of getting this across...this is where poetry goes wrong for me...or any art...when the obsession takes over and kills the rest of your art, that is so much pressure....

Mary said...

Quite frightening really. I guess he became an anorexic as he pared himself down along with his poem. I guess the moral is, though (I believe) a poet's work always reflects the poet, one cannot become one with the poem!

Anonymous said...

Ha! This is quite funny - the narcissism so strong - and yet sad too. And an object lesson. You've got to let this stuff go.

Didn't Henry James - I think so - rewrite all of his published work at some point?" Making it much more verbose in his case.

I have to confess that I have this problem at times - not confusing my work with masterpieces but editing so much in ways that I am not sure improve it. It can be terrible - I do believe editing is important, but it is easy for me to lose track of whether I am improving something. Don't know the answer. Maybe a friend????

Thanks for this interesting poem. k .

Manicddaily said...

PS - you got to admire that he tried to make the leap though! From middling to something else - and that he was willing to give himself over to the obsession -

Gerry Snape said...

I'm laughing ...but I suspect there's a bit of quick intake of breath as well as I read the path that his obsession took him....preserve us from that !!! love it Dave.

anthonynorth said...

Excellently done. Ah, those literary obsessions.

kaykuala said...

An obsession that took its toll. Sometimes one gets carried away only to regret later. Nicely Dave!


Scarlet said...

Superbly written Dave ~

I like how such a joy of writing becomes an obsession, just unto himself and every little dot mattered ~

Thanks for the message ~

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

The poems runs to the conclusion in a breathtaking way.

Cloudia said...

I was obsessed with my novel for 10 years. Finally, published, I couldn't stand to LOOK at my own swimming words anymore! Recently, a generous friends frog-walked me to Kindle and "E" ed my book. Funny how I knew each word, each phrase coming along as I proofed the digital file. . . . . I'm in love, obsessed really, with the ordering of words in service to Something. Hope I end up better than your altar-ego here, LOL!
and DO, everybody BUY my E-book!
(too, um, commercial?)
No Kindle or iPad required-
Click Here

Anonymous said...
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Elephant's Child said...

Letting go - of a child, of a creation of any sort is the hardest thing... Brilliant Dave, thank you.

Dave King said...

Maybe he was a middling meddler.

Yes, I do agree - but there was a time when I would not have.

I've known guys who just could not tear themselves away from their art (painting, in this case) in order to wash, eat, sleep or do anything else (almost!).

Exactly as many are. Difficult to draw the boundary sometimes.

I can see the humerous side, though I wasn't seeing it when I wrote it. Makes me think I ought to try to write the humerous version!

Yes, indeed. How different life would be without them!

Exactly so. Thanks Hank.

Maybe there's a parable in there somewhere... Thanks.

Very satisfying to know that you thought so.

Been there. Done that. Know just how you feel. Thanks for saying it.

The Elephant's Child
Yes, you are so right. It can become impossible - and I do believe that the more trouble it gives, the tighter the bond becomes

Ygraine said...

Literary obsessions? Yes, I know them well...only too well!!
A thoroughly entertaining read Dave.
Kept me hooked throughout :)