Poetry and Incremental Repetition

The distinction between poetry and prose

“Valery…..said that prose was walking, poetry dancing.  Indeed, the original 2 terms prosus and versus meant, respectively, “going straight forth” and “returning,” and that distinction does point up the tendency of poetry to incremental repetition, variation, and treatment of different themes in a single form.


Howard Nemerov

On This Christmas Morning

On This Christmas Morning-2017-8

The snow is melting, now, on this Christmas morning,
revealing of the dormant Earth below.
We gather ‘round our tree of many colors,
Exchanging gifts and all the love we can show.

The sun is showing again above the mountain
Even in this darkest time of year.
The miracle of the light comes celebrating
The time to share the gifts will always be here.

We gather celebrating of life’s miracle
We gather celebrating the virgin birth,
And sing our songs for love of baby Jesus,
Can you sing some prayers for love of Mother Earth?

Now, Santa has gone back to his home in the North Pole,
leaving a song and gifts for all of us to see.
Gone with all his sleigh and magical reindeer
All the gifts for you and for me.

And Spring is only now
A far away fantasy,
A place waiting for
All our dreams to grow,
Knowing that the energy here is biding,
We celebrate this chrysalis morning glow.

Richard Evan MacKay

**This song came as an inspiration during the Christmas season when I happened to be feeling sad and lonely, ruminating about the recent transition of my mother that year.

Stories and Memories


Stories of me
and stories of you
Stories of red
and stories of blue
Some a little fictitious,
Some of them all true.

Stories of wisdom
Stories of learning.
Stories of darkness
and stories of yearning.

Times full of Mystery
not knowing what to do.
Stories of me,
and stories of you.

Stories of danger
and stories of risk
Searching our memories
So deep and rich.

Stories with music
where harmony reined
Stories of feeling good
Stories of pain.

Stories of growing
and then of digression.
These are our lives
All wanting expression.

Van Gogh’s Thoughtful Spot


The plaque explained that Van Gogh would go daily and sit by a fountain in the middle of town, his Thoughtful Spot, to sketch people as they walked by.

I looked back at his paintings around the room with new appreciation. He had the ability to paint like Rembrandt, but that was not the art that poured from his soul.

Each day he sat in his Thoughtful Spot watching people, sketched hands, and dreamed. Then he returned to his studio and chose to fill the canvas with extravagant beauty.

All writers need a Thoughtful Spot to sit, ponder, and soak in the world around us.

Where’s yours?

The Vehicle and Meaning of Poetry for Me

Why am I inspired to write poetry? Why choose this particular genre and media? That’s a good question when poetry often requires some intent listening or reading over in order to get what the poet is saying. My poems may not just be saying something directly. Maybe some get it right away; others may not.

Poetry for me has been something that flowed easily as I write, usually arising from an experience, a feeling state, or maybe an image that occurred to my imagination, trying to put it into words, images, metaphors to hopefully connect to another.

My poetry is more about this experience and using the poetic form and image to convey this as best I can. It’s a deepening and unfoldment of perspective. It’s communicating the mystery, depth, and spirit of life rather than giving a factual interpretation or a prose like account of experience. This deepening of reality is about walking in beauty as the Native Americans understand it. It’s about dancing with language rather than walking straightway with it.

I prefer to write in free verse, which often takes me to a place deeper and more insightful than where I was when starting the poem. The poem, I think, unfolds of its own accord. I try to stay non-judgmental. The reader or listener can make up their own mind to connect or not. Though I would enjoy feedback or commentary, I know I don’t control what others may or may not resonate with in my writings. I just want to express the feelings and the images – and that’s a good feeling in itself – I let go of any expectations.

Comments: What kind of poetry appeals to you?

Favorite poet?  Favorite poem?

Why do I Write?

I love to write and want to share it. I’ve read a few pieces by other blog writers, some with which I have resonated, so I want to express why I write. I have of course been inspired and instructed by many well-known writers. Two of the most notable influences have been Natalie Goldberg’s “Old Friend from Far Away – the practice of memoir writing”; and for poetry, Robert Bly’s “News of the Universe – poems of twofold consciousness”. Of course there have been many more influences on my writing and composing.

I write often in a journal, and then write memoir and poetry pieces. I find basically for me that my writing nourishes my soul, my being. It may seem strange to some that I most often write in a cursive way, and then type it out later. That seems to work best creatively and expressively for me. My creative feelings and thoughts seem to flow best that way. I have studied how to write other genre and have read a variety of other things, but I prefer sharing poetry and some memoir writings. In truth, my writing is basically selfish- I’m discovering in a solitary manner, insights about myself, others, life, ultimate reality, and spirit. I don’t define life exclusively because it seems always to be evolving, expanding out of any mental frame I give it. I am just another wise man around the proverbial elephant, trying to fathom Ultimate Reality. Life is a Great Mystery, and I’m very grateful to be on the journey and using my talents, hoping to make a difference for a few others. That’s how I can use my life and death on this planet.

I guess I’ve stated enough. I’m joyful that I have the wherewithal in our tumultuous world full of inhumanity and suffering for many, but also full of much love and caring. I would hope that my writing would make some small difference in the larger picture, but that may be an unreachable goal. I have collaborated with those who care and have that same hope for a peaceful world that works for all.

I just write in my journal and share some of it. To restate, I write to express and nourish my heart and soul, my being, and I hope that it makes a difference for others in this world. You’ll have to forgive or tolerate my inner poet’s tendency toward incremental repetition, like a song or a poem, verging for some on redundancy I suppose.

What are your aspirations as a writer?  Why do you write?

  What do you read most?