Struggling with Poetry

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 –

No Instructions

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.

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