It seems I’m still learning the art of knowing when to finish a poem.

You know, instead of trying to cram every idea that pops into my head into that one poem I’m currently working on. Because sometimes I have ideas that sort-of-but-don’t-really fit into one neat piece, and if I try to mash them together they become something that’s not neat at all. I know I don’t edit my poems much, but I do try to give them some kind of finesse. Also someone, somewhere from inside my memory, said something like “If a poem only has three good lines, it should only be three lines long.”

So that’s what I’m trying to get a handle on at the minute – knowing when a poem should end. I guess having enough inspiration for this to be a problem is a good thing, really.

The first time I had a poem published in a lit magazine was when I was a teenager (apparently I’m not one anymore, what’s up with that?) and when I submitted it, the editor emailed me back and said that to his mind, the first three lines were a poem. So he asked if he could publish those three lines, and I said yes. This was the whole poem as I had written it (which I still remember mostly off the top of my head):


I know you’re just
a temporary
laughs in the face
of raw human
who is oblivious
to this.
and admit
because it wasn’t me
and you’re the only one
who can touch this,
this tender, weathered face
eroded by laughter
and smiles
and the crash
of the waves.