The Pleading

          by John O'Donohue

All night long, and all through the white day,

The beat of the wind's bulk against the house,

Pausing only for a breath, and then, again,

The rise and wail of its keening, as if I

Could come out into it, and answer

Its unbearable grief with some sweet name,

From which it could make an antiphon

To calm down its demented legion

Of breezes, or failing that, could I find

And release a granite rock, to open

A duct in the mountain, for it to enter

And search the underworld for itself.

"I love poetry, and I find the attempt to write a poem a really challenging thing. A poem is like a field of force that begins with the first syllable and ends with the last. It has no eye on the outside and no truck with the outside. It immunizes itself against all interpretation and won't be overtaken by it. And I think poems are the most trustable mirrors of what the soul might be. So that I think like that the attempt to write poems can in one way be described as a fascinating conversation with your unknown self. And then the beauty of it is that it has nothing to do with narcissism or with ego because if you are fair to the poem, it will decide who it wants to be. So I always see the act of writing as an act of service to what wants to emerge from silence into sound, and from the invisible into visible form. And I am always amazed that poems are willing to stay sleeping between white pages on bookshelves. You know, if poems really behaved like they are, they'd empty towns in seconds— they're such exciting presences. 'T would be lovely to think that you could say to your soul, some of my best friends are poems."

The poem as an act of service...


David LaMotte


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