To be a poet…
you must believe in the uniqueness of every person,
and therefore in your own.
To find your voice you must forget about finding it,
and trust that if you pay sufficient attention to life
you will be found to have something to say
which no one else can say.
And that will be your voice,
singing out from you of itself.
At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace.
It is handed to you, but only if you look for it.
You search, you break your fists, your back, your brain, and then –
and only then -it is handed to you.
Write as if you were dying.
At the same time, assume you write for an audience
consisting solely of terminal patients.
That is, after all, the case.
What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon?
What could you say to a dying person
that would not enrage by its triviality?
Why are we reading,
if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened
and its deepest mystery probed?
Why are we reading,
if not in hope that the writer
will magnify and dramatize our days,
will illuminate and inspire us
with wisdom, courage and the hope of meaningfulness,
and press upon our minds the deepest mysteries,
so we may feel again their majesty and power?
What do we ever know that is higher than that power
which, from time to time, seizes our lives,
and which reveals us startlingly to ourselves
as creatures set down here bewildered?
~Annie Dillard from “Write Till You Drop”
Some days my voice feels so weakened
I am unable to sing out from myself,
knowing I have said too much
that means so little.
I swing and I miss, over and over
swishing the air –
hoping, listening, looking, living
for a connection made
through sharing images and words.
I am bewildered by life most of the time –
how figurative and literal smoke and haze
can permeate and discolor our days and nights.
What I must do is lay bare the beauty I see,
seeking a way to make a sad and suffering world
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