Writing a Poem

True creativity is not the
product of conscious effort
but the phenomenon of life
itself. — Nishida Kitaro


A single stroke
dispatches emptiness,
in one ambitious line
gives backbone to
my limp attention.

Then there's gripping
in the stomach
as I grapple with
commitment, try
to get a bearing on it.

Fingers tighten
on the brush.
The bristles slash again
and incorruptible reality
is neatly tailored
to my artifice.

Leaning on my arm,
I glance behind me
at the letters
inching down the page.
There's no way back,
no second chance.

The brush no longer
mediates between
intention and accomplishment.
It races on ahead of me,
guided by the incidental
pattern of its progress.

Independent of endeavor,
indifferent to what I am
or what I hoped to be,
it brushes my design aside
and draws its own conclusions.


First published in Poet