To the young poet of the future

Dear poet, I picture you gazing at a star,
concerned that you are still so far
from being the poet you wish to become.
From my position of restrospection
I promise that your journey is the best lesson:
you will be buffeted by storms and squalls,
fluctuations in the weather of the soul,
soothed by sunny days and gentle breezes,
fuelling emotions that will swell and fill
you to the brim, then drip and spill
from heart and soul to pen to pool
in elegies, odes and sonnets,
epic tales of human foibles, the harvest
of your personal poetic climate.

Kim M. Russell, 9th March 2021

Letters to a Young Poet (Penguin Classics): Amazon.co.uk: Rilke, Rainer  Maria, Louth, Charlie: 2015141192321: Books

My combined response to earthweal weekly challenge: The Nature of Poetry and dVerse Poets Pub Poetics: Exploring the poetic genre – Verse Epistle (come, taste the feeling)

Brendan starts his interesting essay this week with a question:  How did we become poets? I love where it has taken him. For me, too, ‘verse is the daily dive, the sufficient voice for singing between the worlds of life and dream’, which is why I’m here. I’ve always written poetry, since I was a teenager, which is when I first encountered Rainer Maria Rilke although, for a while, I wrote more lyrics in my quest to become Joni Mitchell!

I haven’t read Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet in such a long time, so thanks to Brendan, I have ordered a new copy – mine went missing years ago between moves from Germany to Ireland and then back to England.

For this challenge, Brendan asks us to write about the nature of poetry and suggests the different avenues we can take. I chose to write a letter to my younger self, which ties in with Sanaa’s Poetics prompt, which is based on the Verse Epistle, a letter in verse, a flexible form that usually takes as its subject either a philosophical or a romantic question.

43 thoughts on “To the young poet of the future

  1. You and Rilke I think would agree: EVERYTHING is gestation! First two lines almost serves as an opening couplet that hauls the reader into the poem’s gravity. All of experience fuels the maturing poem! Thanks for bringin’ it to eaarthweal on a quiet week.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Is there an upcoming D’Verse challenge on verse epistles? I have a Rilkean letter that I just posted which probably won’t go up at earthweal. (Don’t want to be a link hog!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great advice, Kim, and I agree with everything you’ve written here:
    ‘I promise that your journey is the best lesson’ – absolutely! I also love:
    ‘you will be buffeted by storms and squalls,
    fluctuations in the weather of the soul,’
    I feel like I’m going through this a bit at the moment so it was great to read. I used to write song lyrics as a teenager too! I wanted to be the new Carole King but unfortunately my musical abilities were sadly lacking 🙂 Perhaps explains my attachment to lyrical poetry at any rate.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is gorgeously gorgeously worded, Kim! 💝💝 I especially love; “fuelling emotions that will swell and fill
    you to the brim, then drip and spill from heart and soul to pen to pool in elegies, odes and sonnets, epic tales of human foibles.” It is something one can picture happening (being a poet) and I am smiling 🙂 just wondering if this had been addressed to me six years ago. Love it! Thank you so much for writing to the prompt. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this encouragement to a young poet – all of life ahead, to be chronicled in the poems still to be written. Love the closing lines which sum it up so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kim this is a keeper and needs to be shared with poets everywhere. Ah where would we be without the sources for “epic tales of human foibles”. Us humans are a motley crew aren’t we. Maybe poetry is our saving grace?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is beautiful, Kim. A sort of life affirming letter from the future. I particularly liked

    “fuelling emotions that will swell and fill
    you to the brim, then drip and spill
    from heart and soul to pen to pool”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kudos for the depth of your epistle. I got hung up on the classical form, using rhyming couplets. I had go rewrite and blue pencil more than usual. Your piece is so clean and sturdy. Mine, in contrast feels like cow pie shards and soiled straw cling to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kim, enjoyed your Rilkesque poem very much! That’s exactly how I feel about my poetic journey! Very succinct! (This is the first time I’ve participated in the dVerse challenge.)

    Like

  9. Wow Kim, this is absolutely wonderful. I’m nearly at that awkward point for a writer of being lost for words. So let’s just say I greatly admire your letter. It’s so loving, understanding, wise and caring for the young poet within all of us here. 💝

    Liked by 1 person

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