so is blurred / in me

So many good intentions, so few blog posts. But here’s one.

At the final residency of my MFA program, one of the faculty spoke of wanting to live more like a poem asks her to live. I’ve been thinking about this a lot. These days when I read a poem, to the many other questions I ask it—How did you do that? Why break the line after “field”? Couldn’t you live without your last stanza? What made you say “spider” just there?—I’ve added this question: How, poem, do you want me to live?

Here’s a poem I’m living with lately: “I Would Like to Describe” by Zbigneiw Herbert, one of my dearest poets (forgive the somewhat clumsy images):

Screen Shot 2017-12-03 at 2.09.11 PMScreen Shot 2017-12-03 at 2.08.49 PM

I think the poem asks me to live like this:

Use the right words. By “right,” mean accurate, precise, true, interesting, yours.

You will be uncertain.

The poem starts in your body.

Whatever it takes—run around like mad picking up handfuls of birds if you must.

Let it blur in you.

Regarding the white-haired gentlemen: unsubscribe.

Be amazed. Be infinitesimal.

You are of the earth.

Keep going.

Despite pain.

I might be wrong about all of this.

To put it another way: so is blurred / in me.

What poem are you living with these days? How does it ask you to live?


2 thoughts on “so is blurred / in me

  1. Molly, I’m new to blogging so have very little clue as to protocols of comment/responding to a post. I wanted to say that after searching for ‘new’ blogs, with the search term “Using Scrivener”, it was something about the honesty of your posts’ titles that made me want to delve deeper. That brought me to this reflection on What a poem asks us to ‘live like’.
    Your explanation and examples are good, and useful for me. I write poetry… or rather it flows out of me sometimes. Very rarely do I start the process with any programmatic intent.
    So, seeing how you framed Herbert’s “I would like to describe”, has lightened my load. Your post makes me a little less trepidatious. I’m happier now, thinking about how any reader of my pieces of written expression is able to ask that question: “How does this ask me to live?” Thank-you for sharing your process and your thoughts.

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