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Lord Byron (1803), as painted by Marie Louise ...

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As some of you more disgruntled readers may have noticed, I’ve thrown myself off a high cliff into the waters of poetry. Annoying to some, fun for others. While some of you thrill seekers go for bungee jumping or parachuting, or reality television, I went for poetry. Risks come in all forms.

What I’ve learned about poetry is that, like painting, anyone can do it. It is allowing yourself to do it that is the problem. Yes, I chucked all guidelines out the door, I will let more scholarly folks worry about stanzas, iambic pentameter and the like. I did the Beatnik thing and let my freak flag fly high.

Now don’t get me wrong, the classics are beautiful in a way that in my humble opinion the Beat poets have nothing on – but thats okay – Lord Byron simply speaks louder to me than Allen Ginsberg. It’s the visceral act that counts. It’s the reaching in and pulling out your thoughts and feelings without thinking. It is meditation on something not nothing. It is shutting off your critical valve and jumping in.

Wow are the waters refreshing. Terribly cold and dark at first though. Indeed things brush against your feet making you jump and want out immediately. Delete, delete!

Stay in.

Stay in those dark waters because they are as rejuvenating, violent and relaxing as the ocean. Nobody has to read what you have written, it can be our secret of course. But there is something about letting it all out in the open that is profoundly liberating.

The more one does it the more naturally it comes. Read, or be read to. Take note of how certain words put together resonate with you. Smell or have others describe the scent you love (or hate). Touch something and describe it. Desire to touch something, then tell of that yearning. The more uncomfortable it makes you the better.

The more one does something the more natural it becomes.