WHAT’S THAT? ASPECTS OF THE POETIC PROCESS
I’ve been working on a long poem for years now,but there were stumbling blocks – because of my
poetic theory – which was to echo the waves of the
sea, rising & falling, ebb and flow tide…My theory
didn’t allow for any characters, any narrative.
A flux of rhythm and rhyme was my goal. And I
The problem was, no one wanted to read it.
It was necessary to work a story in as well as
I needed an omniscient observer in my poem, but I couldn’t
figure out who it could be. The man of many ways
had been used. Treisias had been used…What to do?
I had to change my thinking… and line up my symbols
like ducks in a row in my understanding. It took a long
time. I must be stupid, I thought.
My psychiatrist informed me I was a long way from
being stupid. They had done several I.Q, tests on me because
they didin’t believe the results of the first test.
Dr Ben informed me that when Einstein lived in
row housing – he had to paint his door red so he could
find his way home.
I’m not sure how that helped me. But let me say,
an epic poem such as the one I’d been writing for decades,
a poem has to grow organically and it will reveal
itself when it is ready. The poet has to grow at the same
time and make himself ready to see, ready to receive
the divine message that he hopes to express.
The poet must empty out a space within himself,
so that when Grace touches him, he has a place
where Grace can come. He has a place, or no-place,
where inspiration may reside.
He must become an empty vessel in order
absorb the lines, in order to encompass the emerging
reality of the poem – to allow the symbols & characters to dance
with one another in his ‘dreaming while awake’.
I can’t explain the process. All I can do is
point a finger at the moon. All I can say is
it happens… how… is mysterious. But the poet
must be patient. He must be ready to wait,
and somehow dream while he waits.
Some of the poem the poet does himself.
Some of it is given to him. Even as Grace is given
to the pilgrim monk.
TEN THOUSAND PATHS TO DAWN AT THE PEAK OF
THE SILVER MOUNTAIN.
I made that one up myself. With a lot of other people
who have attempted to write on the same subject in
the past. We are all monks looking to see
the secret meaning, the meaning of the eternal.
But nobody sees the obvious. What is right before
our face is too difficult to absorb. An old Tibetan
saying goes like this:
“THE SECRET BOOK COULD BE LEFT OPEN ON THE
KING’S HIGHWAY, AND NO ONE WOULD READ IT.”
That fits right in with another one of my favourite sayings.
I didn’t make this one up:
“THE GREAT WAY IS EASY FOR HE WHO HAS NO
The Sixth Patriarch
I got off the subject again, but who cares!
Who makes the rules? We do!
How will I find a title for this?
(C)2016 by W.G. Milne