To celebrate World Poetry Day, I am publishing one of my poems, which is still a “work in progress.” It is one of those poems you can read from top to bottom, and from bottom to top. It showcases my lack of confidence as a poet, and it reflects on the cycles writers go through regarding their ability and inspiration to write. I hope you enjoy reading it.
A Poet’s Struggle
I am not a poet. No.
It is settled.
I do not wish to write about love gained or lost.
I do not follow form.
I do not count words.
Or measure lines, for that matter.
I do not arrange words in precise groups of three or four, or one.
I do not pursue the perfect rhyme.
I am not a poet. No.
I have not earned it. To be called so.
Inspiration for poetry evades me.
Poetry muse, where are you?
I resist resurrecting old wounds. Feeling the sweltering pain again.
So I can be called “a poet” …
I do not hold a torn heart now, but
I shed tears, long ago.
The memory hurts. I choose not to remember.
Not real love.
The endless pit of youth’s infatuation.
If I only had the benefit of knowledge then. I was but a child.
Pleasure and pain. Mesmerizing. Addictive. Shattering.
I have longed for a source of inspiration. Anything … anything, but lost love.
It terrifies me.
But poetry does not only root in desolation …
Inked words could render life, moonlight, or naturally, the sea …
writing about love could be wasteful.
love must sometimes root within the poet’s lines!
Those with a beating heart have felt it. Lost it.
I fear looking foolish …
if I become vulnerable …
they will mock me
Why should I even try? There is no use.
This faculty is saved for mythical creatures. …
I am not deserving.
Do I have this gift within me?
How dare I?
No, I am not a poet.
I have attempted to write poetry, but I face a cold stonewall. Always.
Mine are senseless, entangled words … Worthless.
I will not endure desperation just so I can write poems,
unearth words like “ethereal,” or “withering,” or “jagged,” or “scorched,”
envision colors like “verdigris” and “lilac blue” …
poets hear “screeching” or “crystal” sounds in the background when they write …
I am not made of this.
What are poets made of?
Poets are mythical. Complex. Gentle. Creative. Vulnerable. Bold.
Theirs is a birth-given gift.
How arrogant of me! Daring to write poetry… become a poet.
I cannot possibly do this alone.
The muse abandons me!
I feel nothingness.
I breathe deeply.
I shut my eyes, and I let go. The barriers crumble down.
I long for the muse to guide my senses.
I must enter a world of pain. Loneliness.
I must concentrate. Meditate.
I feel the muse …
I transport myself deep into an illusory world …
I feel it with the tips of fingers and the soles of my feet.
I am sitting on the cold sand,
while listening to the sea foam rock the seashells against the shore,
singing a perpetual marine lullaby,
the scent of tears of heartbroken mermaids
… under the rays of a bright azure moon enlightening the glass water surface …
Finally. A stream of words flows through my mind like the most crystalline substance.
I can foresee myself as a poet.
The muse is here, within me …
I am the poet.
… a translucent charm is filled with the enchanting dust of imagination and creativity, …
suspended from the poet’s neck by soft lavender lace,
vaporizing intermittently, the magic is
injected through the air into the poet’s mouth, nurtured inside the poet’s very core,
… with atoms of energy escaping through the poet’s fingertips, …
I awaken in darkness to sense the muse. It is within me as I write this.
“Never mind binds, or form. Write what your soul feels,” I hear the muse’s sound waves whisper.
I am listening.
Am I a poet?
I dare so.
I know so.
The muse has spoken.
There are no binds.
It is settled.
I am a poet.
Copyright © 2017 Yasmin Tirado-Chiodini. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction prohibited without permission.