Writing Poetry about Writing Poetry

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been meeting with a friend to talk about writing.  The first samples of work I showed her were about my Dad and they were in verse form.  I didn’t call them poetry, I just said “that was the way my thoughts and feelings came out”.  I figured out over the next week that I simply didn’t want to call the work poetry because to call it poetry meant I had to acknowledge poetry rules and etiquette.

A whopping clue came when my friend asked me, “So who are your favorite poets? Who are you reading right now?” I calmly explained that I wasn’t reading poetry because I wasn’t writing poetry because I was just “writing however it came out”.

Once I accepted that the form of my pieces did fall under the heading of poetry, and once I started reading poetry, I realized how far my apple fell from the wind-sculpted tree. Last week, as I found my intended thoughts slipping through the lines of my poems, I decided to vent my frustration by, of course, writing some poetry about those feelings.

Here are two poems about writing poetry.

A Better Way to Poem
There’s something I want to tell you,
but with every new draft
the words twist themselves
into a puzzle that I can’t solve.
If only I had Dumbledore’s Pensieve
and could pull my thoughts
into a thin, blue whisper of smoke
and swirl them into the stone basin.
Then you could place your face in my poem
and sitting in a blue chintz chair,
understand everything.


Dear Final Draft    
I liked you better
the first time I wrote you,
with your dangling participles
and your mixed metaphors,
at least we understood each other then.

Now you’ve grown distant
with your fancy synonyms,
too good for me with your verses
purring like Milton and Yeats,
instead of stumbling over syntax,
waiting for my help.

It may be true
that you don’t need me anymore,
but I’ll never forget when
I was the romantic poet,
and you were my first draft.

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