A Poet’s Plight

After a prolonged dry spell
I fetch my bucket and descend
towards the now overflowing well
under the moon’s pale floating crescent

The drought was long and hard this time
but finally ebb turned to flood
and all around me droplets shine
re-illuminating a flow I near forgot

A word I fish up from the well
one word, two words, a full-grown phrase
till finally I’m unable to tell
whether mine or whether gifted grace

The flow returns with seeming ease
and now I almost forget it was gone
now words and phrases to stanzas flee
and I’m breathless holding a newborn poem

It’s dripping wet with the water drawn
as I carry it home in trembling hands
to feel the release of writing it down
and celebrate it with songs and dance

As the wet season takes hold again
I soon fall back in my old routine
re-united with my friend: The pen
spewing poems like a sowing machine

The rain keeps falling outside my door
like the droplets of ink from my trusty pen
as I proceed to write and to store
preparing myself for next dry season

The flow runs through my fingers now
and drips out on the paper sheet
I replenish my energy in this flow
as my newborn babies I tearfully greet

I know I am writing on borrowed time
and any moment the drought can return
but this pleasant moment is all mine
till I rest my pen, my fingers worn

As long as the rain falls I will write
and make a stock in preparation
for the next dry spell, and in spite
of my life-force’s growing exhaustion

When the book is filled I can rest again
– the well will have run dry anyway –
re-read my production and be content –
when the rain starts again, I cannot say

I will wait, first refreshed, then with unease
for the next wet season to bring me to life
I will edit the written, and try to cease
all thought-activity of my strife

From season to season on I strive
shifting between joy and despair –
when I write all is good – when I can’t it’s a fight –
against forward-facing hope and fear

This story of how the seasons turn
is the truth about a poet’s production
between dearth under a scorching sun
and the sweet release of creative emission

The wet season near the filling well
is life in its bare quintessence
from here springs countless stories to tell
amidst this free, life-giving substance

But during drought the story is other
and every day is for life a fight
where emptiness threatens to totally smother
the sources; this is our hidden plight

Sometimes you give in to despair
and fear the drought will never end
and these strong fears will at you tear
beyond what you can comprehend

Until some point where returning rains
no more replenish your life and poetry
and you fade with no more left to gain
die a poet’s death – drawn-out and empty

Only your writings then will stay
to showcase your life-long secret fight.
And in this metaphorical way
I present you with: A Poet’s Plight.

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