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J. Hugh MacDonald : Writing Philosophy


Where Poems Come From

Sometimes poems grow in me silently
until they are too large to contain
and they want out. They wake me up
in the middle of the night or make me
pull over on the side of the road
and write down their address
on the side of my coffee cup.
They climb like ragged vines
out of my heart, my mouth, my eyes,
my ears, my nose, my privates
and I try to fit them
along a left hand margin
of however many pages it takes.
And I can spend days trimming
and shaping a garden full of them
before I invite a friend for tea.
Sometimes poems are delivered to my door.
Or they are pointed out
by small children who still have eyes for magic.
Sometimes I'm saying a poem
and don't know until another poet tells me so.
Poems get written by accident by people
who could never write one on purpose
and if you find one of these it is yours.
Sometimes I write a poem
to slow the passage of time
or as a time machine
to draw me back to that special place
whose memory has smouldered
in that part of the belly
where funny feelings dwell.
Sometimes I read someone else's poem
and one of mine appears.
Sometimes I use someone else's form
like a bucket to fill
Sometimes everything comes spilling out
and takes the shape of the place where it lands.
Other poems just sit around
and wait for me to come along,
hoping I'll be alert enough to recognize them.
I know they're always there
but too often I miss them
because my poem sense is overburdened
by the dark cloak of important things.


J. Hugh MacDonald's works copyright © to the author.


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