A poet is an insomniac
and always writes best
by the light of a midnight candle.
~Terri Guillemets, “Flickering,” 2009
Mirrors seemed to have taken up a hell of a lot of time in his life. He thought of one now—the mirror in the bathroom, years ago, back home. When he was a kid—fourteen, fifteen—writing a poem every night before he went to sleep, starting and finishing it at one sitting even though it might be two or three o’clock, that bathroom mirror had come to mean more to him than his own bed. Nights when he had finished a poem, what could have been more natural, more necessary and urgent, than to go and look at himself to see if he had changed? Here at this desk, this night, one of life’s important moments had occurred. Humbly, almost unaware, certainly innocent, he had sat there and been the instrument by which a poem was transmitted to paper. ~Charles R. Jackson, The Lost Weekend, 1944
Poetry staggers amongst stars, drunk on the night. ~Terri Guillemets
Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It’s that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that’s what the poet does. ~Allen Ginsberg
Poets rejoice in the light of dawn,
struggle with a heavy pen at noontide,
quip with dragons and fairies at teatime,
love and muse in the evening,
and flourish with midnight ink.
(Sleep? No. We could miss a poem.)
~Terri Guillemets, “Overclocked,” 2011
I yearn to
fall asleep to
and dreamy aromas
so that I wake to
a poem-tinted dawn
and morning’s sweet fragrance
lays out my new day’s path
in flowers of purpose and joy.
Who can sleep when all the words of the poem aren’t just exactly right‽ ~Terri Guillemets, “Poeta insomnis,” 2014