Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Death Poems

I've been reading a very fine book called Japanese Death Poems. The book is compiled by Yoel Hoffmann. The introduction to this book includes the history of the practice of composing a death poem. One thing in the introduction gave me pause:
How is a person's poetry linked to his life? What can it tell of his
death? One poet may search in vain for a poem as long as he lives; another repeats one poem again and again; yet another lives and dies in every poem he creates.

I think I am the third kind of writer. This means that in everything I write I expect a lot of myself and want something very big to be at stake. This is good because I drive myself toward writing that, to me, matters. This can be bad, though, because my expectations of the work get too grand and I disappoint myself. Sometimes I expect to fail and this causes inaction.

The wonderful poems in this book show me there are many ways to write works that matter. Sometimes the simple way is the best way.

I need to write more and trust myself more.

I wrote another poem today.


1 comment:

V said...

What a comfort you are.

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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken

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