If the sky was perfect
inside the house finch
he would not
beat the red thoughts
around his feathered crown,
nor collapse his brown-grey wings.
This poem, like a few others written during this month, was inspired by a writing prompt provided by Poem A Day October. The prompt provided an online random image generator and suggested choosing a visual. It was a toss up between a pair of wizened hands and this handsome house finch. The finch came with a poem, which isn’t surprising as I have used bird motifs in my writing before. See
Sky and Hope have disappeared,
Nearing the End and
I have written drafts in response to all the Poem A Day October’s recommendations. However, not all these attempts have passed the benchmark I set for work worthy of public reading.
Contrary to what some may believe, I do not post any old bunch of lines. Not all the words I have thrown together do I declare poetry. While I do ease up a little on my personal standards (otherwise 80% of the writing on this blog would not be online), I also set high ideals for my writing. For example, I wish my work was more literary. I wish its craft was more dazzling. (Sadly, my attempted poem in iambic pentameter terza rima resulted in a mess of scribbles.) If my poetry was more politically engaged or socially critical, perhaps it might also be more useful to the world.
As a perfectionist who also happens to work as an artist, I spend a long time judging my work as inadequate. The fear that the public and critics will spotlight flaws compounds my panic. (An early poem, “To whom it may concern”, explores this.) Such fear is debilitating. While housebound creativity satisfied me somewhat, it did not wing in the world. How would anything take flight? After years of filling up notebooks I decided that it was time for creation to be shared.
This is why I share my poetry online.
Here are the other poems inspired by Poem A Day October prompts:
Postmarked from a Café
A cooking attempt for colleagues
You cooking me
In the Ocean: a year of poetry
Emily’s Poems for Modern Boys
Shining in Brightness: Selected Poems, 1999 – 2012, which includes “To whom it may concern”