Something that I’ve heard recently is that writing poetry is “simple” and “easy.” I can’t say that I agree. Perhaps it it is for some people, but I find poetry often more difficult to write than any other kind of writing. Trying to communicate a thought or idea in a tight, compact, form is more difficult to me than traditional prose. Flash fiction and poetry are similar in that respect.
Perhaps that’s because I am truly a prose writer. People say that a poem just pops into their head, the way dialogue pops into mine, or a songwriter like my sister hears music. Should I be trying? Should I just stick with prose?
But I like to write poetry. It stretches my mind. It actually feels like I’m using my brain in a different way than when I’m writing prose. I think that it also strengthens my prose by building skills.
I do confess that… sometimes I just give up on a poem and let it go. It wasn’t my best effort but I set it free. I feel a bit like I’ve failed. I have to let it go, let it find it’s own way in the world. Most often though, people are more kind than I when they read those efforts.
I like to play with words. Sometimes I mangle them, sometimes I outright destroy them, but sometimes, just sometimes, I feel like I got it right. Here’s one such –
Life doesn’t provide
thick black lines to color within.
A blank sheet of paper is all you get,
with no instructions on where to begin.
Life is no paint by numbers
with lovely watercolors and a brush.
It’s a child’s toy requiring assembly;
instructions thrown away in the rush.