Phew. Okay. I type this assignment to myself because I feel distinctly un-poetic these days. I can hear words whistle by but I can't catch them. My writer's net feels light, and empty, looking at the people and places in my life I want to give words to, and being lost. How do you write silence into being, the quick intake of breath when you watch the retreating figure? How do you put words to the aching swell of the violin? How do you slip the nervous heartfelt eyes of horses in between letters on a screen?
I don't know how to do these things, and again and again I come back to words. Words as clean and clear as water. Words that lilt and dip like hummingbirds into honeysuckle. Words that spin constellations.
Okay. A villanelle. I'm going to try!
Write soft and slow, and let the words emerge,
and coax their music from its twilight cave.
The sea and stars and skies at once converge.
Lean low and hear beneath the wind's slow dirge
a joyful whispered "praise" where wind meets wave,
write soft and slow, and let the words emerge.
And here you sit, your hands washed in the surge
the water cool to touch, you find you're saved -
for sea, and stars, and skies always converge.
Is there more to know? You ask, immersed.
To make the newborn poem whose words engrave -
write soft and slow, and let the world emerge?
Tread lightly now, tiptoe to the verge
and watch the trees quiver, bold and brave
the sea and stars and skies again converge.
Your heartbeat quick, you breathe the word, "diverse,"
and know the poem makes music from its cave.
Write soft, and slow, and let your words emerge,
for sea and skies and stars touch, then, converge.
© Hilary Sherratt.
That was the first attempt! May poetry be near your heart, however un-poetic you may feel, dear friends.