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
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.