The empty screen

27 January 2011

So, having not written a poem for around two months, I am wondering whether I can still call myself a poet.  I can’t remember who said that you are only a poet when you are writing a poem, but it seems the sentiment has wedged deep in my heart.  Then I am reminded of the Miroslav Holub poem ‘Conversation with a Poet’ which goes:

Are you a poet?
Yes, I am.

How do you know?
I’ve written poems.

If you’ve written poems it means you were a poet. But now?
I’ll write a poem again one day.

In that case maybe you’ll be a poet again one day. But how will you know it is a poem?
It will be a poem just like the last one.

Then of course it won’t be a poem. A poem is only once and can never be the same a second time.
I believe it will be just as good.

How can you be sure? Even the quality of a poem is for once only and depends not on you but on circumstances.
I believe that circumstances will be the same too.

If you believe that then you won’t be a poet and never were a poet.
What then makes you think you are a poet?
Well – I don’t rightly know. And who are you?

And then I am tied in twisty turny knots.  Hope comes with the idea for a poem about The Childcatcher which I am going to be writing for a Red Squirrel Press anthology.  The deadline is in a couple of months, so hopefully I will be a poet again in time for that.