For Friday, March 4, 2016:
“For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly.”
Langston Hughes, “The Big Sea”
Within an hour after I finished the manuscript of the novel I’ve been drafting, I caught a fleeting glimpse of a new poem. Something caused a partial line or an image to pop in to my head as I was doing something else yesterday afternoon – making the bed, maybe, or walking from one room to another? – and then just as quickly it was gone.
Though I don’t remember now what it was, I did hold on to that ephemeral ‘something’ long enough to say to myself, ‘Oh, that might be a poem!’ It’s been at least a year, if not longer, since I’ve written a poem, so I was thrilled to feel even that shimmer of an impulse. That tells me there may be a rainbow developing inside.
I know my creative processes well enough to know I need to leave space for it to grow. If I want that poem, or any poem, to emerge, I can’t dive back into writing fiction for at least a few days, like I had planned to do. I can’t do any editing. My head needs to be empty for a while, my eyes and heart need to be open, ready to receive what’s waiting to show itself.
It’s possible that yesterday’s poem seed may be gone forever, but I know, now that the stirrings have started again, that another one will show up in its place. In the meantime, I should probably do some too-long-delayed cleaning around here … Physical activity usually helps, and I’ve been too focused on the novel to do more than pay token attention to the state of the house.
Maybe if some of the dust and clutter are cleared away, there will be more light for a rainbow when it’s time.