Sometimes I can’t find words

Sometimes I can’t find the right words to express something . . . We’ve all had that happen . . . and I have to make due with second best. There have been times when I have spent a good hour on a sentence and it’s still not right, and I don’t think it’s because I am anal. We are dealing with feelings, thoughts, inspirations that may not ever find their equivalency in language! I’m really aware of that as a poet. Less as a blogger. Less as a conversationalist. Blogging and conversation are forgiving. Take conversation: Most people are half focused on what you are saying and half focused on what they want to say. Or they are mostly focused on their own message and are just politely waiting for you to finish. My wife and I are always working on listening to each other, but out in the world, well, the pace of processing accelerates. Language streamlines. People use familiar phrases that are good enough to get something across. That’s on one extreme of communication. At the polar opposite extreme from worldy conversation there is poetry.

In the case of poetry I am communicating with my soul, heart, deeper mind. I am translating images, thoughts, feelings, emotions, fears into language, but not just any language – language that will, to the best of my ability to frame it, express what is rising out of me. I have to respect my own process. I have to care about my own experience enough to respect it. Otherwise it’s a lost cause. And believe me, I have written poems about things that I merely wanted to care about, that didn’t turn out well. I run across them in my files and they sound stilted, pretentious. With blogging I get to edit, which to me is a failsafe. In that sense I see a blog entry as anything but finished. When I hit ”publish”, it’s not like sending it off to a publisher. I get a second, third . . . sixth chance to tweak something.

Just one more thing about poetry, compared to blogging. With poetry there is a certain separation that happens between me and the poem I am writing. At some point the poem begins to breathe and it wants autonomy. It has it’s own consciousness or energy field and I have to step back and let it be. It’s a mystery, this creative process, isn’t it.


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