Ive been working on a poem for about six weeks now and I'm really not happy with it. I've written pages and pages that are neither good poetry nor even decent prose. I started with some lines I'm pretty happy with, but I go back and forth between thinking they're really clever (goosing the cliche) or really, really self-indulgent:
I'm stealing when I say
April has always been cruel to me,
and again, here to say,
it is my Lazarus month,
only you did not rise
again like an April Fool
as I did. And which of us
I am very close on a middle bit that may or may not turn out to be a sonnet. When I realized it had some accidental rhyme I started poking it to make it a sonnet and it fit surprisingly well at first, but then the meaning started to be fudged for rhyme and I stopped trying to squash it into form. This is a sentiment I developed after his death and I think it's a very good metaphor. This is the pulled back but still semi-stylized version:
If I should lose the little finger, say
Of my left hand, I could learn to type around.
And all the instruments I do not play
Would prove no sadder loss than now.
Other things I do requiring dexterous skill
Could be--as good or almost--learned again.
Most days I should not feel its loss at all
Until it was as if it had never been.
(Here's where structuring falls apart)
Yet, there would come a moment when
Performing some small but delicate task
I should find myself at a loss unable to continue.
(and I really don't know where to go here)
Most days I hardly feel your loss. Other's advice and comfort
could suffice. But one thing in sixty say, could only be answered by you.
Something irreplaceable is gone and I put my head in my hands and cry.
Perhaps I'm being overly ambitious. I want to weave in more of the world from those ten strange years and back down to the personal. I've never had success with a planned poem before. My best poems come nearly fully formed or are short enough to wrestle. Suggestions welcome. I'll keep you posted.