Aspirations of armadillos

I just listened to Elizabeth Bishop reading her poem ‘The Armadillo’ at and it made me yearn to write good poetry.

Her words are natural, her images not overdone, the rhythm gentle, unforced and the rhyme present in the background, working with the poem, not being the poem.

I want to write this well. Poetry that is accessible yet beautiful, has meaning but doesn’t preach. I want to find words that echo long after the complete poem is forgotten. I want to find new ways to show old truths.

There is a feeling that I carry around with me that is like a clenched fist. No, more like the arse to your elbow feeling that you get when you look down over a precipice and have to fight your feet to stay still. It hovers in the region above my kidneys…like adrenaline. This feeling is only mitigated when I write something that seems to approach meaningful…and that is not very often.

Where to go next is the question, what to try. Could it be meter or form, maybe rhyme scheme? Should I plunder the dictionary every day for new words?

Maybe the answer is to read more poetry. To analyse what I like and why. To identify those poems that stay with me after I have put away the text. Also to have the confidence to admit that I don’t understand a great deal of poetry and to imagine that occasionally it might be the poet’s fault rather than always being mine.

My kind of poetry, that which I like and aspire to write, does not cloak itself in ambiguity or highly academic language or concept. It is real. Written in real words that anyone might know and understand, about concepts and ideas that ordinary people can share.

The thing is, I can talk and think all day long about what I want to do. I need to spend more time just doing it.


My poem for Napowrimo, 8th April is at

About SallyJ

I am a writer and a poet.
This entry was posted in poet, poetry, writer, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Aspirations of armadillos

  1. Lesley says:

    you dooooo write good poetry so stop the yearning, just do what you are already doing…..

  2. SallyJ says:

    What a great friend you are Lesley – thank you for this.

  3. Mama Zen says:

    Yes, yes, and yes!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s