Monday, January 9, 2017

Inspiration from Poetry


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I found myself browsing through my inspiration notebook and ran across something I'd jotted down about Tolkien. He often relied on verse when he couldn't quite find the words he wanted. He said, "The first version of the song of Strider concerning Luthien, originally appeared in the Leeds University magazine, but the whole tale, as sketched by Aragorn, was written in a poem of great length."


I'm a bit of a poet, and this idea appeals to me. I'm especially fond of Frost, who had an amazing gift for abiding in the present. Stopping by a Wood on a Snowing Evening is so beautiful to me. It simply and elegantly chronicles the miracle and life of a single moment. I decided to try and solve a prose problem by setting the idea, the single moment, in verse. I'd been struggling over a young character sent to bed, in a strange room, while an adult party is going on downstairs. In poetry it is captured this way:

Broken window, shattered glass
Invite these two in as they pass
among the eaves and rooftop snow-
Cold and Wind both spritely go


I pull the covers to my chin
against the brisk and howling wind
In our lonely attic loft,
the cot is hard, the pillow soft

I hear the party down the stairs
where friends and family dance in pairs,
but I've been scooted up to bed-
they gave my room to Uncle Fred

One day I'll be a grown up too
and have the fun of a dance or two,
but now I'm young and so I sleep
but now I'm young, and so I sleep.

Not a masterpiece by any means, and certainly not in a league with Tolkien or Frost, but it gives me a handle to write the few paragraphs that I wanted to express.

Is your prose inspired by music, poetry, or art?
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5 comments:

  1. I always think of poetry as the ultimate distillation of language. It's a very useful tool for any writer to at least explore, if not perfect.

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  2. Jody, I actually shivered as I read your words! Great job.

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