April is National Poetry Month. I have enjoyed writing poems since I was a kid, but I tend to get lost in other ventures and don’t write as many as I should. Sometimes I will compose something on a car journey based on something I heard on the radio or in a song or from a conversation. I also composed paintings or work on play scenes. The mindlessness of a long drive frees my brain for other things, it seems.
The other great inspiration is a deadline. ISSUE, the monthly arts I put together, has a poetry submission page, “Thoughtcrime.” While I get quite a few submissions, I often find I need something for the page. Sometimes I have free rein, but the most fun is when I have a limitation — not just for time.
Sometimes I need a short piece (come on down, Haiku). Sometimes I need 20 lines to fill in a hole. Sometimes I need short lines or long lines to fit the space available. Then it’s finding a theme. I have written Dada poems, Surreal poems, poems that are plays on words, puns or history. Sometimes I will go for an acrostic. I wrote a piece inspired by a black and white French film, and another based on the concept of random fragments “found” on ancient pottery (which was a great chance to write a series of seemingly interconnected fragments which, with some imagination, could possibly have been related at some historical point). I even write a poem about Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the style of Samuel Taylor Coleridge while I was taking a Romantic literature graduate class.
So finding myself up against deadline for the May ISSUE, and it being the anniversary of William Shakespeare‘s death (and probably birthday), I was inspired to write a small piece to honor the great man — whomever he may be. Here’s what I came up with:
The mind dwells on the Bard of Avon, Will,
Who shuffled off this mortal coil, on this day of his death,
April 23, in certainty, yet there be conjecture still,
If on this date in Stratford, as well he first drew breath.
Or even if the poet was, Shakespeare only in name,
The quill held by some other hand, when it performed the feat,
Essex, Marlowe, Johnson, or some other eschewing fame,
No matter, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
And this blog was written and submitted on April 30 — right on deadline. #inspiration
To submit a poem for publication in ISSUE, email firstname.lastname@example.org.