Judy sitting by the Haw River to write poems, 1992. Drawing by Mikhail Bazankov, 1938-2015. Cover of Beaver Soul, Russian edition, 1997.
The Late Years Fifty-Four November 3, 2019
We talked about the Muse. What
Jacques Maritain calls creative
intuition, and Joyce Cary, simply
intuition. Cary says it comes upon
the artist or poet like a discovery.
Virginia Woolf says it celebrates
its nuptials in peace. It’s like a
swan floating down the river.
Eliot says what we write joins
the tradition if it’s new and good,
and everything else shifts slightly
to accommodate the new discovery.
None of them, though helpful,
wrote their thoughts as a woman
poet might. For me it’s a question
“What shall I write about today?”
which W.B. Yeats posed to himself.
As soon as I ask, the answer flows
into my mind, a guide to follow,
word by word. My mind forgets
everything else, especially the
trivia: the new exercises I need
to do every day, whether my email
to the coal ash folks will reach them
all successfully, and the cold
outside, the time change–seven
has become six, with daylight
earlier, and nightly dark, too. All
my worries and problems take a
backseat or work their way into
the poem. As long as the words
in my mind don’t desert me, I can
live and write as a poet with a
sacred voice always there to
reassure and reward me,
no matter what.