For me, poetry is an integral part of my life and my fiction writing life. It began, like for many, when I was a teen. I think I was about fifteen, so about the same time I started writing fiction, and from the beginning they went hand-in-hand as I used both to navigate an abusive childhood.
That link has continued, with fiction acting as my telescope, poetry my microscope.
The best way to understand is for me to jump right into those five reasons…
The above gives this away. It’s like journaling, but, for me, more creative. It’s like a counselor who understands your artistic self.
Fear not, I’m not going to share grim poems of woe and trigger someone. These days, I try to not share my temporary hopelessness.
Even here, though, the link exists with my fiction, which will be more obvious as I go along. As is the case with my fictional characters, every poem shares a little DNA with me, no matter the reason for writing it.
This is my catch-all reason where I explore ideas and create moods in a medium that forces me to be more concise and agonize over word choice. It benefits my fiction. A good example is Always and Always. It came to me in an explosion of meaningful, gothic images while listening to a haunting piano. I couldn’t write it down fast enough.
Ever always wrapped in midnight, breathless shadows in a dying kiss. Eternal devotion ever after, a broken craving she brushed from her lips, one she shared with the embers in her hand. She echoed tears on piano keys, starless ebony in spilled wine. Eternal misery's ghostly presence, the madness of devotion in a library out of time, her treasured passion always and always again.
It doesn’t happen too often, but on occasion I’ll tell make up a story. For some reason, humor is usually involved. It’s flash fiction in rhyme. When they happen, they’re great fun to write, like Attack of the Clawed Fuzzies and my lifetime love for the insanity of cats.
We thought we had a chance, we thought we'd survive, but when the clawed fuzzies attacked they wouldn't be denied. Coming in the dead of night purring bewitching sounds, before we could escape they groomed and pulled us down. Some hide from the alluring mews and prickly paws, but there was no escaping the fuzzies sporting claws.
This was the reason for including poetry on my website in the first place because it contains the same themes found in my stories. It’s a way of providing a window into my fiction experience.
Some of those themes are magic, romance, hope, purpose, identity, determination, surviving, romance and on an on it goes. None sums up me up like Someone, which is a poem that goes back a decade when I was still recovering from a long illness.
I can only be myself and not someone else, for someone else is for someone else to be. If I'm not true to my mind and am hollowed with lies, then my life is tied to a false self and not to me.
My last reason are poems that appear in stories, are from the POV of a particular character, or are about a particular character. These are the poems that also serve as tools, in a way. Many of them haven’t been shared because they serve as background.
To this day, my favorite, because it so completely captures the character, is Riparia. It’s named for the main character in the Kovenlore Chronicles and also serves to tell her backstory.
A child of the riverbank, of the river, the Sentinel, it was called. In a child's mind there was no time, but time there was to learn to climb, and so she did, scaling the rock along the water's edge. Learning to dream, and dreaming, a current moving in time. Seeing the world, not as it was, but as it was before the past was dust, and that was in the beginning, long before she'd ventured forth. She set her fingers in the water's flow —a river in her hand— the water, it'd been places she'd yet to see, was going places she longed to be. "Let me show you," the river whispered, and one day—it did.