[Image: “Good and Evil,” by Daniel Merriam. See the original, more clearly, at Merriam’s own site.]
From whiskey river’s commonplace book (“the pursuit of fantasy“):
Writing in the Dark
It’s not difficult.
Anyway, it’s necessary.
Wait till morning, and you’ll forget.
And who knows if morning will come.
Fumble for the light, and you’ll be
stark awake, but the vision
will be fading, slipping
out of reach.
You must have paper at hand,
a felt-tip pen, ballpoints don’t always flow,
pencil points tend to break. There’s nothing
shameful in that much prudence: those are our tools.
Never mind about crossing your t’s, dotting your i’s–
but take care not to cover
one word with the next. Practice will reveal
how one hand instinctively comes to the aid of the other
to keep each line
clear of the next.
Keep writing in the dark:
a record of the night, or
words that pulled you from depths of unknowing,
words that flew through your mind, strange birds
crying their urgency with human voices,
as flowers of a tree that blooms
only once in a lifetime:
words that may have the power
to make the sun rise again.
(Denise Levertov [source])
Surely you remember
After they all leave,
I remain alone with the poems,
some poems of mine, some of others.
I prefer poems that others have written.
I remain quiet, and slowly
the knot in my throat dissolves.
Sometimes I wish everyone would go away.
Maybe it’s nice, after all, to write poems.
You sit in your room and the walls grow taller.
A blue kerchief becomes a deep well.
You wish everyone would go away.
You don’t know what’s the matter with you.
Perhaps you’ll think of something.
Then it all passes, and you are pure crystal.
After that, love.
Narcissus was so much in love with himself.
Only a fool doesn’t understand
he loved the river, too.
You sit alone.
Your heart aches, but
The faded images wash away one by one.
Then the defects.
A sun sets at midnight. You remember
the dark flowers too.
You wish you were dead or alive or
Isn’t there a country you love? A word?
Surely you remember.
Only a fool lets the sun set when it likes.
It always drifts off too early
westward to the islands.
Sun and moon, winter and summer
will come to you,
(Dahlia Ravikovitch; translated by Chana Bloch and Ariel Bloch)