Poetry is a recently acquired… oh, let’s not call it obsession but rather… interest for me. Reading it has allowed me to serve up a dose of the evocative in my normally quiet and routine daily life. As for writing it, well, that serves two purposes: it’s given me an outlet for those short sharp bursts of either inspiration or emotion that seem intent on elbowing their way to the front of my consciousness and it’s slowly influencing my long-form writing which is often too verbose and frequently contains repetitive elements.

Yesterday, my attention was caught by a phrase that went something like “…[it] washed over them in a heavy wave and [she] felt it draw something back with it…” and was struck by how well that expressed a large part of how my logical brain perceives creative inspiration. Unfortunately, only once has the experience been even close to that dramatic with the outcome a piece written almost whole cloth and seemingly with little-to-no conscious input.

I’m very much a construction worker when it comes to writing. I usually have a flash that forms the foundation but after that it’s board-by-board methodical labor. I was divided in where I thought this poem was going. My initial understanding was that I was going to write about “the muse” and I did write a piece along those lines but it wasn’t quite clicking into place. When that happens I’ll strip a poem back down to its core elements and see what else can be built of it. The rewrite wasn’t wholly successful because I ended up frustrated that it repeated thematic elements I seem to be stuck on recently but it rang truer than my initial attempt so now I’ll let it rest for a while until I decide whether to let it stand or tear it back down again.

What does your process look like and how often are you detoured from the expected path?



Your voice rolls in
crests and breaks
with a discordant crash

It recedes and I lose
my footing – common ground
giving way

You are entrenched
and I am unmoored
in this rush and retreat

Nothing in me understands
how to navigate
this unexpected surge

A shift in the current
and I awake a stranger to myself
washed up on this new shore alone


The original piece:



The voice rolled in
crested and collapsed
with a discordant crash

When it receded it
drew from me everything
held tightly for too long

Base offering
spilled to the ground
from my cup

Until, sifting rough grit
through my hands, I find benediction
in the rush and retreat

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