Mitch Hedberg, one of my very favorite comedians, had a bit in his standup routine that went like this: "My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.”
I do love plants. I love their their beauty, their fragrance and the healthy ambiance they exude, but plants in my home have to be extra, extra hardy, or come with a full-time long-term gardener in tow.
And so it is with my approach to writing poetry. If an idea is steadfast and substantial enough, I will eventually work it into a piece. If not, if it is but a wisp of a thought I will, regrettably, forget about it.
The care and feeding of my poetry requires that I read poetry, and only the very best poems available to me. Shakespeare, Blake, Coleridge, Millay, Wordsworth, Browning, and Riley are but a few.
Admittedly, absorbing and feeding on the works of these, my mentors, is a luxury that I don’t afford myself often enough, but when I do indulge in truly great poetry my muse responds ravenously.
Now, well past in their initial tutoring, I am able to compose without merely mimicking them, yet, their mark is indelibly upon me. This was true of Rembrandt, Raphael, or any schooled apprentice.
My work lies in a lesser strata than that of my mentors, and it is unlikely that I will ever achieve to their level, but their poems continue to encourage me to to attain to the very best that I am capable of.
As to our houseplants, my husband is very good with living things. His tender care of them yields beautiful, bounteous results. So, I leave them to him, for the most part, and simply enjoy them.