Monday, December 31, 2012

The Words Right

by CWK

Write! Throw your laptop into lake Hartwell,
take a pen and legal pad, and sell
your savings and buy 3 quiet hours alone.
Go to the Amphitheater and scribble full
notebooks till they burst 
with little phrases of promise.
Love not the great book; to the miniscule
bestow devotion. Love every single sentence,
and every single word that's in it.

Write! And think, and speak, and proclaim
your own secret stone with your secret name.
Write not for fortune frail, or passing fame:
be content to be nothing more
than banging drum on distant shore.
Be content to be nothing, nothing more.
Do not stand in swung open door,
and shout like a fool to the corners
of a universe which eternally extends
in a billion directions wide and far.
Be content to sit at a small desk end,
here on earth, your own little star,
and write a few lines to a friend.

Write! After writing, write more.
Retreat from idle conversation, close your door,
and vomit every syllable out onto the floor.
Gather the syllables, and organize them around one,
only one, infinitesimal idea:
One succinct phrase
can change the course of your days --
but to say two things is much too much,
and will never be enough.

Then, say what one thing you have to say
with the best words, in the the best way.
Keep the words that tend to matter;
discard those words that tend to scatter.
Let words live who stay,
but let words go who stray.
You must take lordship of a land
where words mean exact, upon demand.
Within your kingdom, words pay rent.
Free loading words, if freedom lent,
will wonder here and there without consent.
With such words you must dispense,
or they will tear your kingdom to the ground.
This is not a matter of amount;
don't count words, just make sure 
every word counts.

After all this -- at last! --
after you have painted on a paper canvas
with colors pure and lines fetted:
with the very blood sweated 
from your own cerebral angst --
After all this -- at last --
then, and then alone, you have your first draft.

And finally, remember your end when you write:
your conclusion -- first of your words, then your life.
Make sure, above all, to conclude all, all right.
When your words are covered in night,
and your grave covered in grass,
to your conclusion you have come, at last.
And you will sleep in peaceful frame --
not for fortune frail gained, or passing fame --
but if this is your acclaim,
"I shed a little light,"
and, "I got the words right."

Such would be a conclusion fitting --
but just now, you are just now beginning.
So -- wake up! Strike the candle bright,
and set yourself to write, 
with this question in your sights,
"Did I get the right words? Did I get the words right?"

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