Sleepless Night (Poem)

in writing •  8 months ago

Hello Steemians,

I am working on a couple of different writing projects. One is the screenplay for a potential television pilot. This is one of those big dreams. Most of the writers I know write screenplays, hoping they will get produced. While I put myself in that camp, I am also just someone who has to write them, and I will continue to write them even if I never win a contest or have anything produced. I have always been drawn to stories told on the screen: navigating the world of irony that involves visuals and deciding what is being said versus what the characters actually mean. Part of my spiritual growth is accepting that I need to make time for it.

My other project is intense revision on poems that I am getting ready to send out for potential publication. The process of getting a book of poems published by a reputable press goes something like this:

  1. Write poems.
  2. Revise poems.
  3. Share poems with other poets and ask for feedback.
  4. Revise poems.
  5. Send poems out for potential publication.
  6. Receive rejection letters.
  7. Revise poems.
  8. Send poems out again.
  9. Receive letters stating that poems have been accepted for publication.
  10. Rejoice.
  11. Spend $25 on copies of published poems from small press.
  12. Repeat.
  13. Once 25-50 poems have been published, submit book to contests.
  14. Receive rejection letters.
  15. Revise poems.
  16. Submit book to more contests.
  17. Win contest.
  18. Rejoice upon receiving published volume of poetry.

Photo of Mary Pickford, founder of United Artists, working at her desk. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Throughout all of it, I've learned that it's important to enjoy the ride, enjoy the journey. There is a book called The Soul is Here for Its Own Joy by Robert Bly, and that's especially true for poets since there are dashed expectations and misconceptions to deal with. People think you write Hallmark cards rather than aspire to write literature. In addition, all poets -- at least in the U.S. -- cannot support themselves on poetry alone, so they teach. Or work as graphic designers. Or as marketing specialists. Or try to squeak by stringing a bunch of adjunct professor positions together.

So, anyone who does this, who attempts to write literature, does it for his or her own joy. They do it because they have to do it. As someone who has written every day since the fifth grade, I have difficulty explaining why I must do it. I can only say that reading and writing poems is one of my great joys, and it gives me immense pleasure to read the work of other poets as well as my own work out loud and puzzle over finding just the right word. I have been known to tinker with poems for two years before sending them out. After the initial draft -- that mad dash to fill the page -- the revision process allows me to figure out what I've actually said....

That is what is behind my own process. As I get to know more of the writers and poets here, I would love to know what motivates you and what your process is like. I love that there is a community here where we can all support and teach each other.

Without further ado, here is my short contribution for today. The process of writing this was more like sculpting. The poem was three times as long, and I chipped away at it until I got to what I feel is the true essence of experiencing insomnia. I hope you enjoy it. Since I am working towards publication, I welcome any and all feedback.

To illustrate this poem, I chose a photo from publicdomainpictures.net. Follow this link to view the original.

Sleepless Night

September and the Sweet Gum trees
begin to drop thorned globes.

The air turns cold, and insects
lose momentum. All night

Orion has chased Pleiades through clouds.
By first light, even his passion wanes.

The restless sky descends, sniffs
at creek beds and gravel roads.

If I rise and walk to the ridge,
whom will I meet beyond the fog?

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I like the imagery. I felt my blood was pumping faster when I read the poem.

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Thanks for your comments @kirkins! I appreciate your support of my work as I get started here. If you had a physiological response to the poem, then that's a good sign. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods and that you're crushing it on those coding tests!

As a fellow poet I like the imagery and the rhythm. Poems do not need to be long opus but can be a thoughts and muses that come to you.

Thank you for sharing.

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Hey @veritanuda, glad to meet another poet here. I totally agree that poems don’t need to be long. Some of my best poems are the short ones. Looking forward to seeing some of your work here.

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Well here is thing, my dear lady White,
I hope we can both feel and share the muse,
Not that I want to appear graceless or impolite,
Mayhap together is better, or alone, if you choose?

:)