Inviting Spontaneity: Poetry on the fly

Sometimes in creative work, when we throw “reason” by the wayside and stop analyzing the “correctness” of all that we do, we open ourselves to being delighted and surprised by the results. A poet came to speak to my fiction class today. She had us do a small exercise where we drew three separate “untamed” combinations of lines on a piece of paper and traded with a partner. The scribbles that I received from my friend Jeremiah looked like grass, wheels and a three-dimensional hall. Our next task was to write association poems based on what we saw, felt or were reminded of when we looked at the unintelligible looking marks. It was true for the entire class that when pushed to spontaneity, we surprised ourselves by what came out.

It makes me think that perhaps we could apply the same principle to life sometimes- to throw away being too cautious or the sulking fear that we could make a fool of ourselves and fail, and just throw up our hands, howl like a wolf and let our lives be poetry on the fly. We can be pleasantly delighted with the results.

[grass]

so down, down, down

below

in the grass, I lay and sleep

away, away, away from

my mother and her questions

[wheels]

cycling in the country is hard

the trails continue in perpetuity

like wind in a canyon

or a snake shedding

and it is too hard

harder than knowing when I began

[hall]

this hall is miserable and

beginning to look like my

father’s house

the dark corners

are his eyebrows and the dust is his breath,

seeking and finding,

in every closed crevice

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