Poetry takes a massive amount of energy compared to prose or just plain ranting. I can jot off a couple of paragraphs on my latest pet peeve with no plan and hardly a thought. A poem that I wouldn't mind letting the rest of the world see is a totally different kind of beast. I'll agonize over every other word, sometimes spending 15 or 20 minutes on each. Some of my poems that I feel best about took me months to write. One of them took over a year.
I don't know whether my poetry is all that great or not. I know other people sometimes tell me it is, but that doesn't really do it for me. I like hearing praises of just about anything I do, but I don't have a lot of confidence in them. I always have a suspicion that my head is being patted and my cheeks pinched. "How cute! He made a poum."
It's such a huge release to write a poem that you can feel really good about. You struggle to pull this alien thing up and out of your throat or from under your fingernails or your scalp, and when you do, you feel so pleased and proud like it's your newest baby. But if someone asks what it all means, do you really want to tell them? It's almost like they just asked about your favorite technique between the sheets. You might throw out a tip or two, but it seems crude and dirty to pick it all apart for public consumption. Having given birth, should you now tell all the gory details of how baby was made and then serve him up on a snack tray?
When you write a poem, do you start with something to say or do you just let it all come out? Do you start with a scheme of rhyme, rhythm, and meter, and force the words to fit? Or do you write it all down and then arrange the mechanics around the words? Or do you just ignore all the rules in a fit of laissez faire poenomics?
So, yeah. This was one of those rants that just belches out now and then. Pebble Chaser recently wrote about how night writing is different than day writing. I'm thinking she was right.