Friday, 15 May 2015

Come On Home

Drawing on a memory of his father at Galveston Island, David Biespiel describes the way inspiration "whistles" its way into a poet's life:
Late in the afternoon my father would stand near our station of half-buried, sand-dotted towels held in place by a styrofoam cooler and then he’d tongue-stab his bottom lip to whistle us all to come in and reunite—brothers and dog alike, who needed to be located from somewhere down the beach near one of the jetties. My father had a high and loud stab of a whistle. It was nearly impossible not to hear it even among the beach din. Like sending an uncoded message, he whistled in high-pitched, naval blurts. Spread out as far as we might have been on the beach or in the waves, we could hear him whistling all right and knew well to heed the summons. Woe to him who offered the weak excuse that he hadn’t heard the call.

A poem too always begins with a call like this, like a whistle, to come in. Woe to the poet who does not hear it. You! a poem calls to the poet, up and at ‘em. Let’s go. Get in here. Time to gather, time to remove yourself from the day-to-day and return to being alert to your psyche where your language is always, already, at home. You’re not yet in the place you need to be, a poem says as it calls the poet in, so come on home.

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