For me every poem is a found object, rather like a pebble on the beach. However great the pedigree of the rock from which a pebble is whittled, it stands, like the poem, alone. Alone from the inspiration that birthed it. Alone from the perspirer that scripted it.

Because of this, however faithfully I feel that a finished poem replicates the passion of the ideas that birthed it, I have learnt to simmer it. To file it away for a day, a week, a month even, and return to it with some surprise. To see how it reads latterly, when the passion is cool, even cold. When there is no residual heat in the mind that formed it to give it false warmth; or residual, prebooted knowledge in the mind that reads it, to lend it wisdom beyond what is contained in its lines.

I try to return to a poem with something approximating the blank canvas that the reader will approach it with. It can never be that blank of course, but I can only try.

2 Replies to “Lessons I am Learning; No. 1. Simmering Poems.”

  1. Awele says:

    “To file it away for a day, a week, a month even …”
    if I may: I have file cabinet filled with notepads of scripted rhythmical lines. I have hundreds of three inch diskettes filled with ideas of stories pending birth. I have a few audio cassettes of what I call ‘traffic birthed poems and conversations’ and later transferred unto compact disks which later became still-born articles. I have external hard-drives containing hundreds of ‘simmering’ works and all these have accompanied me through two continents, excess luggage and all.

    To have a fresh ‘writing’ start I am thinking of having a bonfire night sometime soon. After which my mind may release me from the bondage of recollecting ‘simmering’ works scripted and stored in the technology that was available when I wrote them.

    I wish you well as you learn.

    I only wish I could stop recalling unfinished works and just concentrate on finishing one.

    Hey, I just did!

  2. Chuma Nwokolo says:

    Aha… Looks to me like you also have a Procrastinating bug running amok somewhere 😉

    What you have in your cabinet are germs and half-finished projects… what you should ‘simmer’ are ‘finished’ projects.

    Good luck, Awele…


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