Ted Kooser; Tomas Tranströmer: Advancing in my Poetry Journey

In the Victoria Embankment Gardens

I set out today with a specific goal in mind - to make some sketches and write some poetry. The sun lured me out of my cave bedroom, and, as is often the case when it is sunny and I am feeling creative, I headed to Southbank. There, I found myself in the Poetry Library. It is a wonderful place - quiet, with few people, and full of books. One night, in the throes of great emotional turmoil (that I don't fully recall), the children's corner, hidden from sight, was a calming poetic haven. It is a little gem of London.

Today, I discovered Ted Kooser's Poetry Manual, full of interesting thoughts and quotes. When I go back, I shall have to finish reading it. One thought which I felt rang very true, and particularly enjoyed, was his idea of how a poem changes you, changes your view of the world. If you were to read a poem with a line about the summer evening sunlight, streaming through a willow tree as a nearby musician played sad songs, would you walk by a willow tree, one afternoon, and not think of that line? I certainly would. It is a beautiful thought - your perception of the world around you made more beautiful, more aware, by lines of poetry.. 

I did not write any poetry, and I did not draw. I wanted some bubble tea, and quite forgetting that Chinatown would be packed, I was greatly delayed. I did not want to give up, however, so spent a great deal of time edging through the crowd. (Slow. Irksome). Of course, there was a queue at the shop, but finally I escaped the scatterthrong* and was back by the river, in the Victoria Embankment Gardens, eating my lunch in the middle of the afternoon. 

I may not have done what I expected, but I have advanced in my poetic journey. Let your view of the world be changed - all you need is some poetry. When I experience a beautiful moment, or a happy moment, and I do not wish it to end, I think of Louis MacNeice's The Sunlight on the Garden

"We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold"

By way of conclusion, I want to share some lines from a poem by Tomas Tranströmer. The poem is titled Morning Bird Songs.

"The whole universe is full!

Fantastic to feel how my poem is growing
while I myself am shrinking.
It's getting bigger, it's taking my place, 
it's pressing against me. 
It has shoved me out of the nest. 
The poem is finished." 

---


*Scatterthrong - a large, compact crowd of people, that extends far, 'scattering' as you leave the centre of the crowd. (Larger than a 'regular' crowd, and implies some movement). Read this for more details.

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