It’s not the notes you play
It’s the notes you don’t play.
Poetry writing can be the true test of your ability to wrangle words. It requires an unyieldingly strict economy. The filter of a poet’s mind has to be exceedingly fine in order to not only capture the essential, but know when to discard the chaff. In this way, like alchemists, they turn the base metal of everyday living into gold.
They are able to hear that there’s music playing somewhere. They keep time to it as they select word upon word to place on the page. They are led by it. They come alive when improvising and flying blind in this way. Anyone who’s spent time in the arts knows this to be true. Something will help you to feel your way forward, give you vision to see the unseen, help you to merge together what seems disparate and make them one. While the writer’s handiwork really amounts to just lines and squiggles across a white expanse, in the right hands, they give voice to the ineffable.
People who are lyrical in their prose writing come closest to poetry. Some people are naturals at it. Their minds meld thinking and feeling. Their thoughts have fingertips that can reach right off the page to revive your flagging heart. From their divining and imagining flows a rushing river of light to buoy you up, to prevent you from going under.
The end of such a writer’s journey is the start of your own. Upon reading them you will feel something stirring. Deep calling out to deep . . . as if God himself is rushing through you.