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poem: wildcatting

November 6, 2005 Leave a comment Go to comments

exploratory wells —
but no one has yet
invented a seismograph
for inspiration

“Wildcatting” is the term used in the early days of oil exploration. Before modern geology and seismological tools, searchers for oil simply had to drill many many exploratory wells hoping to come across the black gold, or at least clues to its presence in the rock and water deep below the surface. For those who were persistent, fortune might smile and reward them with a “lucky strike”.

Writing can be like that, in that the writer can only try idea after idea, looking for the hard-to-describe hints of a something that could be _something_. Only after the flash of inspiration can the writer’s tools of “craft” be used.

(This poem is the first of a five-line style of poems that I have found that I enjoy writing. Just a little longer than haiku, but still short enough to require extreme economy of expression.)

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