I almost didn’t write this blog post. I had decided to include a poem but felt more and more daunted by the task at hand. This is field notes on how I went about writing a poem in a day despite doubts and fear.
A listening heart
When my life gets shattered by loss, the kind of writing I turn to is poetry. It gives my brain the task of form and rhythm and leaves my heart free to feel.
That is why I wanted to include a poem in this blog post about writing my memoir Golden Broken Ladder. Because the first thing I was able to write after losing my son in the early stages of the third trimester was a poem.
A constant challenge about writing a memoir is for the heart not to harden. I need to stay soft to write the story, but it is a demanding task when the entry and exit points are time-sensitive. I can give it my attention for an hour or two, but then I have to return to everyday life, which I also love but which requires another kind of energy.
Poetry is a generous preventive remedy for the heart not to harden. And a quick entryway in and out of the time slots for writing.
It is so because it dials into the art of listening. I had a busy mind yesterday. Too much noise, not enough listening. The poem was so far away that I thought I might as well experiment today.
The experiment – field notes on how to write a poem in a day
When confused or lacking inspiration I always turn to books. So the first thing I did was to go to my bookshelves and pick two books. A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver and Seven Thousand Ways to listen by Mark Nepo
I get inspired when I learn something new and who better to learn from than the poet Mary Oliver. I read a couple of chapters and then my plan was to meditate but instead I turned to the other book. When I started to read I got so excited that I skipped the otherwise planned meditation and wrote a page of first thoughts.
If you want to ease into your writing go to this writing session.
Then my daughter needed me, and I cuddled with her for about an hour. I went back to the notebook and wrote the first part of the poem.
Often my writing benefits from a walk in nature but this time the walk showed up in the poem and writing it became a kind of meditation.
Now for the poem
First of all, I don’t know how to write poetry. When writing down poems in my notebook, I hear a rhythm when I recite them to myself, but I am painfully aware that I don’t know the craft of building a proper poem.
The things I have going for me is a sensitive soul and some sense of rhythm when it comes to language.
so here it goes
Numbed out with
the no in noise
I go to the woods
to find a poet
with the so in sound
by the bark of trees
My hand falls on a
yielding yesTina Ming
I hope my field notes on writing a poem in a day inspires you to write your own.