It was a grand experiment,
don't you think?
Every work day for the past year, rain or shine, I have put up a short poem under the heading "Lines...." I had been complaining, a year ago, that blogging seemed to pull me away from poetry, and I wasn't happy. So I threw down the challenge of blogging five poems a week, to see if I would put up or shut up. It was an experiment.
It was a successful experiment. I don't mean to say that every poem I put up was a good poem - far from it. Yet there were some good poems, many of them. And the bad poems were instructive, too, in their way. I learned a lot about the short poem. I had always seen myself, at least in one part of my work, as a poet of the short poem; yet now I found how ignorant I was. Putting up five poems a week, you cannot stay ignorant for long, or you will be found out for the fool you are.
I learned a lot. Now I like to tell people that my haiku can have anywhere from two to six lines and as many damned syllables as I wish, and I am only partly kidding. As different as some of my "Lines" over the past year have been, one from the other, in terms of number of lines and number of syllables and stanza breaks, in their essential innermost form they feel like haiku to me.
So the experiment has been completed. What next? I ask myself. I do not have a clear answer, only a fuzzy sense that it will be prose, that it will concern itself with the poet's life, with what the poet gives his attention to. There will be some eavesdropping and reading upsisde-down from the life around me. I may, in part, try to chronicle what I do each day, because these days slip away and I have no idea how they have been spent. And spend them I do, at this age, 59, like the coins from the small boy's hand buying candy. How much more candy will I get to buy?
I think, over the course of the next year, I want to use The Middlewesterner as an impetus for me to pay attention, whatever that may mean. You might think I have in some fashion already been paying attention. Yet I want to step more fully into what I see, to observe more intensely, to record more accurately. To engage more completely.
Shall I be able to do so? I don't know. It feels right now as if I'm standing at the edge of the cliff, wondering if I can fly.
One can fly for a bit, at least. Here we go.