The Art of Surprise

Once upon a time (or more than “often”) a verse gives me fits. It lacks that punch I like to read.

“It needs some space?”

“Yes or no.”


“Not helpful.”

“Of course.”

“Substitute words, find a better, no, different arrangement.”

“Count out the stresses. Enough, in correct rhythm, then proceed.”

The poem is still unruly, distemperate, like a rolling train-wreck, murderous meter and parts are flying off.

Once more, polish a stone, not a poem, it needs to breathe, to exhale the words of poesy.

Forget the deeper personalized meaning(s), make it approachable to a reader who gardens her own angst, swims his own deep drama.

“Leave this part. That is good. Remove a bit, be gone.”

Sometimes insight is as dull as a mis-spelt word, use that cherished gift.

The eureka comes through the mayhem, a beneficence of persistence, from some unknown place with no legible road markers.

Now, this poem sings, it sits up up and purrs, strong as coiled steel, sparse, smooth as chocolate mousse.

The wheedling, work, and worry turned out a pretty-good poem. How it really happened is to my surprise, unknown—although intimate with the scribbled page how can he, she, we, they truly be sure. Poets and I, I mean.

And that is fair and fine enough.

c. Lemuel

22 July 2018

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