Where Do Poems Come From?

I am not one of those poets who can sit down first thing in the morning with pen in hand and write a poem the way I can write an essay. I wait for the poem in the way one waits at a stop sign allowing their mind to drift until they are awakened from their escape by a honking car horn behind them. Sometimes the complete poem comes in a few seconds. Other times, bits and pieces drift in and out without a schedule. I can sit and toil over a poem, put it away, and a few months later take it out again. Often these bits and pieces from what I considered separate poems at some point converge into a single poem. That is why it becomes important to never throwaway a thought or a line of poetry.

Sometimes, the poet must prove his worthiness of the poem. I had the title of a poem on a post-it note for three months glued to my computer screen before the poem flowed into my body. I heard the words and wrote them down on paper. I seldom change more than a word or two when poems come in this manner. This poem is still in my opinion one of my best.

The poems I have to work on and struggle with a good deal may be more technically correct, but they feel more like a creation than a gift. Many of my poems come from dreams and experiences. I often write the words down while still half asleep, while the dream or words are still fresh in my consciousness. When I wake in the morning, I am often surprised to see the poem sitting on my night stand. A gift from the angels.