On when to expect a poem

Consider the chicken. It’s okay for her: in the sense that an egg is in her hotness for a particular amount of time and then  – out it pops! Not a sharp edge in sight.

Now consider the poor poet. She might be working so hard at living that she might not have the time or energy to pick up on when the background noise of thinking is actually the germ of a poem. Perhaps she flushes great thought after great thought away with no more care than an avatar smiting cannon-fodder avatars.

She might, though, arrive at isthmuses of calm – or if not calm, then periods of quiet – when poems can suggest themselves. Or even, an awareness that there is space to be filled; pen in hand and paper on the table, she might look around the room or out the window or in a book of others’ poems.

She can mine her subconscious every day. She could leave it alone and see what it offers, moving through her days in a state of acute listening. She might neglect and suppress suggestion until an urge becomes a compulsion, that takes control but this might be a fraught choice. Whichever way you slice it, egg laying is peanuts compared to poetry writing.

A chicken wouldn’t smash her own egg, or poke it back up in order to reconfigure the ingredients. Nothing might be right with the poet’s egg: shell is wrong colour with freckles arranged in too much order, or out of order. Duck or lizard or dinosaur? And what of the unfortunate life that could be as wrong as what Jeff Brundle and Gina Davis brought about in The Fly 2?


The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


About grahamcliffordpoet

Graham is an award winning poet, based in London. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with an MA in Creative Writing, and has since published nationally and internationally, winning many awards and performing at some of the most prestigious and well known Literary Festivals. His debut collection, The Hitting Game, is published by Seren.
This entry was posted in contemporary art, creative writing, poetry, reflection, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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