For Wednesday, November 25, 2015:
“The poet’s mind is in fact a receptacle for seizing and storing up numberless feelings, phrases, images, which remain there until all the particles which can unite to form a new compound are present together.”
T. S. Eliot
One of my poems that has gotten the most positive feedback and responses is one that took several years to come together.
It’s actually a combination of two, and then three, different poems, none of which worked on their own. But I saw possibilities in each one, and, in part because I never discard any of my poetry — not intentionally, anyway — I hung onto them and would look at them on and off to see what I could do with them, if anything.
The missing particles turned out to be two separate quotations, also discovered at different times, that unified the by-then three poems into one compound. I added a word or two in the originals, or moved a few words around to make them scan better, but the final poem was basically unchanged from the way the three were first composed.
All that was needed was the unifying concept. When that appeared, it was magic. I still remember my excitement, and to this day the poem that resulted remains one of my personal favorites.
So a word to the wise: please don’t throw out any of your work! It might contain one or more particles of magic.