Travails of a Budding Poet – A Fiction
Thanks to my newly found redemptive vigour, crocheting poetic lines became more liberating, rewarding and fulfilling. It simply became about doing what I loved to do and enjoying it, rather than doing it for accolades. The simple notion of conceiving a muse, penning it and closing its final verse was a priceless thrill.
ALSO READ: TRAVAILS OF A BUDDING POET CHAPTER ONE
The joyous hamlet I had arrived, on my unfolding trip turned out to be quite illusory. It was filled with reassuring cheers and a budding reputation amongst my acquaintances and peers alike. “Wow! You wrote this! That’s amazing” they would marvel. I knew my poetic prowess was not exactly soaring with the eagles, but I was cozily sheltered in the belief, structured on brittle grains of ego, that it was only a cloud or two behind them, but little did I know; for spectacular, was my ignorance.
Equally spectacular, were the storms that whirled it away, randomly breezing ego deflating shrapnels on my face, through the sharp cracks of the first few lines of the poem I was reading.
It was on one of my dovish weekends strolls, that I bumped into a rotting document, browned with dusts and footsteps, lying wastefully at the mercy of the random evening breeze. I picked it up for a quick skim as my curiosity usually compels me to. It was a decaying fragment of a poet’s anthology, half torn, I was only able to see a name and an interrupted poem. It read:
– Pablo Neruda
The word was born
in the blood,
it grew in the dark body, pulsing,
and took flight with the lips and mouth
Farther away and nearer,
still, still it came
from dead fathers and from wandering races,
from territories that had become stone,
that had tired of their poor tribes,
because when… [torn away]
As much as I loved poetry, my romance with poetry was not induced by conventional poetry, fundamentally, it was inspired by other creative energies – lyrics, paintings, and deep prosaic images.
As far as I was concerned, poetry was all about rhyming ambiguous words within vessels of my thoughts and putting them into verses.
I especially have an affinity for the lyrics of Bruce Marshall Mathers, around which my sense of creativity and writing style generally revolved until I met Neruda in his rotting piece.
There I was, reading something ENTIRELY DIFFERENT, starkly distant from what I have grown to regard as poetry, the words seemed like incantations, deliberately knitted by aliens from other galaxies to fever my soul. Albeit written in English, my perplexity would be no different had they been written in Valerian. Arrested were my illusions, by genies of neruda’s magical awe, trapped to rot in cells of his tingling aura, still very much outliving him.
ALSO READ: TRAVAILS OF A BUDDING POET CHAPTER TWO
In them I received the cold revelation, that my poetic prowess was still rooted in the muds, faraway from mother earth’s high planes, right where the eagles leap into the clouds of poetic mastery. A point I illusory thought I was approaching. Huh. Ridiculous.
Travails of a Budding Poet – A Fiction
As soon as I came to terms with the realities of my poetic ignorance, I immediately began to negotiate my way out of its confines. I was determined to break loose of Neruda’s bewitchment. How could I write like this? Is it even possible?!. I wondered.
But writing like Neruda was not the urgent crisis, understanding a single line of his poem that I had just read was. It was ripping my soul out of its rigging. All my cognitive life, I had never read a text in English and not made sense of it until now, my dissent for ambiguity is the reason I’m obsessed with the use of English and handy dictionaries. Yet, here i was, seeing words I actually recognize in clauses but unable to make substance of them.
What I learnt was vivid – Ignorance is not the biggest enemy of knowledge; the illusion of knowledge is. I had never researched poetry, nor read a poem, nor met a poet nor attended a poetry class, but still managed to believe I knew enough, managed to be infuriated that my poem was criticized, and managed to even refer to my works – as poetry.
ALSO READ: TRAVAILS OF A BUDDING POET CHAPTER 3
It was now time to learn the things I thought I knew.
I quickly researched Neruda, read more of his works and biography. My early lessons in correct poetry began in his “Twenty love poems and a song of despair”.
It was In those priceless sonnets that I truly met poetry. In them I learnt, that she was fire, burning on ice, that she was truth in its Sunday clothes, that she was a parallel ray of reflections, that she lived in the branches of the night and rides on shawls of fairies. That she creeps into fireflies, dews, scents and virgin ladybugs. It was thanks to Neruda that I learnt that she sometimes;write herself.
At the end of the paperback edition of the book were recommended reads, from other Chilean and non Chilean poets. My thirst for poetic material increased, along with my curiosity and In a short while I had met the “others”.
Wordsworth in his posthumously uncompleted 66,000+ line poem – “the Prelude”, Li Po in his famous Japanese haiku anthology, Rumi in his “Book of Love”, Linda Goodmans in “Gooberz” and Imamus-shatibii in his classical “Matnush-Shaatibiyyah”.
With each passing book, came brutal blows, bloodying my ignorant nose, and forcing it to perceive what poetry truly scents like – Petrichor.
To be continued….
© Ahmad Abdulsamad, 2018.|Prose |TABP5|Series