Poet’s Progress: Or Not?

Recently, I read an analysis of another’s poetic development. How much did my own writing change, I wondered, over past decades?

When a youthful lyric “I” felt too narrow after the birth of two children, my focus did broaden to simple domestic narratives about family, friends, and neighbourhood.

By middle age, meditations appeared: What gives life meaning? How to live spiritually well? Can permanence and flux be reconciled? More ambitious in subject and form, these poems longed to tap into a universality.

Age fifty split my poetic psyche, one part preoccupied with the dark underside of life: war, pollution, human evil. The other sought the innocence of a child’s wonder, playing with rhythm and rhyme to delight little listeners.

Ten years later, composing within the boundaries of material research restored balance. Respecting the subtle music in line and image grew more and more important.

As 80 looms, I find a new simplicity emerging: understated poems that seek to blend fact and feeling pleasingly and concisely.

Ultimately, what do I want from my poems? In the largest meaning of the word, to be true. Humbled by such a daunting task, I am ever eager to read any poet who can teach me more about perfecting such art.