Closing the Box Lid On Poetry

I write poetry all the time these days. Most of it never gets completed, filling out pages in snippets of lines. But there are the special ones; the ones that come from Poem A Day challenges, that go through edits and reworkings until they are shiny and perfect. They get polished and spiffed up till I can read them and sigh with happiness. They get to the point where I am willing to share them with friends and other writers.

And once they are finished, the lid goes on the poem and the box is closed. I forget about the poem and the agony put into it. I forget what it is about. I forget the emotions that were put into it. It’s like it has left me and closed and it get’s forgotten.

I thought I was the only one who was like this but reading Poemcrazy recently, I came across this line.

I like the idea of controlled abandon. In sex this might be tantra. In poetry it’s form. Yeats said that a finished poem “made a noise like a click of the lid on a perfectly made box,” implying that a poem is a box or vessel with a definite shape. When it’s finished it can be closed.

-Poemcrazy: Chapter 46 controlled abandon

So obviously  I am not the only one who ‘closes’ one’s poem and it gets shut. Maybe other poets don’t forget their poetry, but I do. The minute it’s done and sent off to something, or someone, it’s going ‘poof’ out of my head. Days, weeks, months later, I will come across the poem, either in a notebook, or recently the typed up pages I sent off for Writer’s Digest’s Poem A Day Chapbook Challenge.  I had forgotten what they were about; just totally forgot that I had written some of that poetry.  You would think that after having poured so much of myself into it I would remember it. But I never remember.

Funny thing too, most of my poetry is emotional, and relational to what is going on at that point in my life. By the time I finally get around to looking at it again, most of the emotional part is long gone.  This recent spat of poetry relation to someone I was interested in at the time, and now that has faded to a ppfff of a thought.  So now the poetry, while probably good, seems like drivel. I kind of want to close that box back up quickly and lock away the key.

Maybe someday the older poetry won’t bother me as much. If it’s not so personal, or just a part of my life when I was younger, it’s less annoying. Maybe I’m impatient with my slightly previous self. Who knows. But for now, that box closes on most poetry I write.

Kate

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