The Ink in My Veins


I have started writing poetry again.

For a very long time now, I haven’t had the heart to touch the poetic pen, so to speak. Poetry is deep – when you write it, the ink doesn’t just go onto the paper and that’s that. It’s as though the ink is drawn from your soul, and you are putting a little piece of that eternal being onto paper, exposing it to air and possibly also the eyes of others. It’s no small thing. And for a while, I haven’t wanted to go that deep into myself – I was tired of it; not poetry, but the mirror. I’ve written about the past few months and how things have affected me, for the better, and how it was deep and trying and difficult. After something like that, it takes a while to voluntarily delve into that place again, even if you know it’s much lighter and cleaner than the last time you visited.

Some people tell us that poetry has rules and rhyme and meter and that if your poem doesn’t fit the rules, it’s not real poetry. Pardon my arrogance, but I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would say that. Who made the rules, anyway? Yes, there is poetry that has rhyme and meter, and that’s lovely, and kudos to you if you write like that, but just because a poem doesn’t fit a rhyme scheme or isn’t intertextual doesn’t mean it’s not poetry. Poetry is what my soul wants to say. If it doesn’t sound like the soul of Whitman or Keats or NP van Wyk Louw, then that’s good, because I’m not them.  Bad luck if my poems don’t fit some constructed standard and if I never get my writing into an anthology or collection, but that isn’t the point. The point is to write. And write I will.

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