Friends have invited us to a longest-night-of-the-year gathering in Point Reyes this evening, complete with an open poetry reading. "Bring your poems," they say. (They like others of my friends may be tired of hearing about my writing practice with little evidence of what I actually do. ) So I spent the evening yesterday going through the stacks of poems I've produced over the years. At first I rejected everything. My poems aren't "there" yet, I think. I'm still developing. (This after having written poems since second grade and I long ago left the horizon of my fifth decade behind.) Then the judge entered. "These poems aren't developing. They just aren't very good." I decided to take the poems to the basement. At least there I could read them out loud without embarrassing myself. Sitting on the steps, shivering in the cold and musty dimness, I began to read in a soft throaty whisper. Maybe it was the echo of the stairwell, or the rhythm of the sounds. After reading a few I felt myself soften a little bit. Unattached from me, out there where they'd come from in the first place, the words stood their ground. The thoughts and feelings and ideas that had brought me to the point of writing them down floated above them like balloons, birds, dirigibles, or single-engine aircraft. But the words did the work. After a while I was able to read many of them, and read some several times. There on the basement stairs my love reawakened. The word breathes us into existence and sings us back out to the place we come from.
- Jane Flint
Think of Jane tonight reading her poem in Point Reyes!!