Take a sheet of paper, a pen, a pencil
Or stare into nowhere, aloof and pensive,
Close your eyes or wear a silly smile,
Sit down or walk at random for a while…
Now grab a thought, an idea, a distant notion,
Throw it away with a frustrated motion,
Pull out another inkling, you have a lot,
Settle down on something, an embryo plot.
Put together some words, arrange in a line,
Toss them around until they feel fine,
Hunt for images, powerful, poignant, fresh,
Implant them firmly into the poem’s flesh.
Then add your pain, loss, love, hope, fear,
Squeeze your soul to get something here,
Something palpable on this crumpled page –
Dig it from your heart, either joy or rage.
After your poem is sprinkled with blood,
Sparkles with mirth or is stained with mud,
Polish its surface slowly, without haste;
Consider adding irony by taste.
Read the poem aloud and cringe in dismay,
Tear it into pieces and throw away!
After a while gather the shreds again,
Revise once more with all due restraint.
Now show it to somebody you can trust
And do with it whatever you must –
Send to a publisher, hide in a drawer
Or simply go write another poem.