making a poem

Here I will share a letter that I wrote to myself yesterday:

26 March 2021

Dear Sian

Perhaps you are a overwhelmed with the tasks you’ve given yourself. You do not need to do all of these things, you need only to do some of these things. You do not need to resolve them, tied up tight, only to present what you have, loose and lovely.

On Wednesday, you remembered P for a moment. That one class he taught, the lesson where he stopped us all from rushing around in the college print studio, the whole big chaotic group, frantically making our work. Shouted “stop!”, shaky almost, upset. Called us over to make a circle. Told us “you need to remember what you are doing – what you are doing is making a poem”. All art is that, isn’t it? A song; a poem. That is the test of what I am doing, what I am working on : is it a poem?

And the mental state (the spiritual state) which you need for the job is a particular one – unhurried, not thinking about outcomes, schedules, deadlines, those things. You have to do other things – the schedule things, the stuff – but they are incidental to the real daily work, the important good work.

Yours sincerely


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