I have more difficulty writing a poem about someone very close or very dear to me than any other subject. I have been working on one person’s poem intermittently.  It’s gone through three major them shifts and viewpoint shifts.  Only one line from the original draft has survived.  I’ve learned to sacrifice lines I love for the greater good of the whole poem (damn!  there’s a poem idea…). 

I’ve been trying to understand why poems like this are such a challenge for me.  Maybe I have too much to say and can’t narrow down the viewpoint or the theme.  Maybe I’m still standing too close and can’t get far enough back to see or feel what to write.  Maybe I can’t separate the me from him yet.  You’d think I could.  In real-time, it’s been years; in my mind, well, that’s the magic of memory.

I am in awe of the greatest poets’ work like Yeats’ great poem, “When You are Old”.  I tear-up every time I read the second stanza.  Can’t touch the master.

When You are Old  by William Butler Yeats
  
When you are old and gray and full of sleep  
  And nodding by the fire, take down this book,  
  And slowly read, and dream of the soft look  
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;  
 
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
  And loved your beauty with love false or true;  
  But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,  
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.  
 
And bending down beside the glowing bars,  
  Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled
  And paced upon the mountains overhead,  
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

 

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