I started writing poetry recently. I'm not really sure why. I've always enjoyed reading poetry, but never tried writing it. Poetry seemed so literary, unattainable, something that required dedicated study.
However, I have kept a journal ever since I can remember, and I write in it almost every day. It is inexpensive therapy, a way to process my thoughts and feelings. The writing is not meant to be seen, it is just a stream of consciousness. But it serves to get thoughts out of my head, and quieten my mind.
One morning a few weeks ago when I felt particularly overwhelmed, I sat down to write my usual scribble, but this ‘poem’ came out. I don’t know what technically constitutes a poem as opposed to prose. But as far as I can tell, it aims to get to the truth of something. To strip back an idea or a feeling, to reveal its essence.
A couple of months ago I saw an exhibition of Piet Mondrian’s work in Berlin. It was amazing to see how his work evolved over the years from detailed, naturalistic landscapes to his more famous abstract cubist style. With time, he removed more and more detail from his paintings, until left with just straight lines and block colour; black, white, red, blue and yellow. These paintings look almost like a single pixel of an image. He said this about his work,
“I construct lines and color combinations on a flat surface, in order to express general beauty with the utmost awareness. Nature (or, that which I see) inspires me, puts me, as with any painter, in an emotional state so that an urge comes about to make something, but I want to come as close as possible to the truth and abstract everything from that, until I reach the foundation (still just an external foundation!) of things…”
To me this seems to parallel the purpose of poetry. To strip back the words, and focus on imagery and pace and pattern. Given that the deepest truths can never be fully encapsulated in words; fewer words are sometimes more powerful. Perhaps because they leave space for awareness. Not unlike a Mondrian painting.
Similar to my journal, I have been writing these poems to myself, to my confused self, but through them I come to some deeper understanding and truth. Sharing something so personal is of course scary, but my motto of the moment is ‘move into the fear to get to the truth’. And I must say the more vulnerable I make myself, the more exposed I am, the more alive and invincible I feel.
So here goes...
Much love xo