The Alchemy of Poetry

05 Apr

The Alchemy of Poetry

Position the inert element (any prompt will do) into the beaker of an empty page and bathe in the acid of a long stare. Place vessel over the flame of thought. Heat until surface softens and breaks into fault lines. With any writing instrument organize component parts into webs and lists. Use hurried scrawl to free-write dissections and reconstructions. Expand and condense reorganize and rearrange the substance that has now begun to take shape until the final creation aligns to your satisfaction. At this point it will often appear to be gold (but don’t be fooled). Leave it to cool then return in an hour a day or a week to inspect. Very occasionally you will be satisfied you have created something genuine.

© 2011 by Violet Nesdoly


This is National Poetry Month and I have again set myself the goal of writing a poem a day. “The Alchemy of Poetry” was one of last April’s poem-a-day efforts.

I find these writing jags help me get over the feeling of writing as a ‘precious’ activity. I know from experience that when I write a lot of poems, not every one that seems great just after I’ve written it, is. I have to give my writing and myself the cooling and distance of time to see what I’ve made. As ever, I’m hoping this year’s efforts yield a few keepers.

This poem is linked to One Shot Wednesday Week 40.


Posted by on April 5, 2011 in Writing


9 responses to “The Alchemy of Poetry

  1. Charles van Gorkom

    April 5, 2011 at 6:40 am

    How true and so well written! I really enjoy this!


  2. vnesdoly

    April 5, 2011 at 6:58 am

    Thanks Charlie! You don’t have the same experience, though, do you? Your creations always seem so perfect and well-formed, even the ones still warm from creation!


  3. Maureen

    April 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    You’ve got it right, and so well-expressed, Violet. (Because I work almost solely on computer now, I don’t so much see the messiness that my poems used to be as I pushed through the scrawls and fashioned a clean page. But the rest… yes, it’s all still part of poetry writing.) Lovely read.


  4. poemblaze

    April 5, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    This is great poetry written with an unusual spin on a familiar topic!


  5. brian

    April 5, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    ha. excellent little verse on the writing process…its never gold even after its posted…lol…always open to rewrites…


  6. Leslie

    April 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    i like this analogy of the writing process. never thought of it as alchemy, but there is definitely some magic in there somewhere!


  7. Eric

    April 6, 2011 at 10:01 am

    So THAT’S how it’s done, eh? No wonder I can’t get anything write, er, right!


  8. Laura Hegfield

    April 6, 2011 at 10:38 am

    An excellent description of the essential elements of any creative pursuit!


  9. versebender

    April 6, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Well done…especially liked the “leave it to cool” part. excellent advice! vb



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