Advice To Poets
Don't drive a car. Dreaming up a poem
is not compatible with judging
distances and steering straight.
Live as long as you can. But think
about dying, the dark mystery
of death will add depth to your poems.
Don't make decisions. Rethink
all the time - you, more than most, should
know we are all flotsam on a great river.
Don't disengage. Live usefully,
greet your neighbour, be warm to those
you write about - they are your readers.
Don't fall in love with the Muse. It will only
create trouble. Write about happiness -
being unhappy is a crowded market.
Write and then re-write. Even if the poem
takes years, make it seem like it took
only the seconds it takes to read.
Anyone can write if they have the time
and will, but most prefer the hassle of living
to the hassle of words
- that's a comforting thought.
Be precise, like surgeons or lawyers.
Desire, also, to re-shape the world
as fundamentally as scientists or soldiers.
Make your writing seem like no-one else's,
for that you'll have to ignore any advice
given to you - so you can ignore all I've said.