I’m trying to write a poem at the moment. I have the idea. It’s here, hovering in my head, waiting impatiently to be expressed.
I also have the words, most of them lurking nervously in the wings, like members of an amateur dramatic society at a casting.
I suspect my concerns would be familiar to any am-dram theatre director. This is my production, I hope for an audience and I want to impress.
But my words are amateurs and have amateur issues. Many are not the right size or shape for what I have in mind. Some want to take on bigger parts than their talents warrant, others are shy or unfamiliar with the spotlight and need encouragement.
Perhaps poetry is more choreography than theatre, more dance than drama? Certain words will want to stay together having been seen that way so many times before. I will have to insist they try new partners and I suspect some may sulk and not give their best.
With luck one or two stars will emerge, drawn together in a remarkable phrase, to twinkle centre stage. Others are bound to ham it up where subtlety is required. Hopefully I will spot this before curtain up.
It’s OK, if necessary I can dig out my thesaurus and audition unknowns. There will be many rehearsals and words are not unionised. I am free to recast or remove trouble makers like a despot.
Finally there will be the forgotten lines. Those perfect combinations of words that get lost just as I’m poised to commit their brilliance to posterity. Occurring by surprise while I’m out walking the dog they will have evaporated before reaching my notepad. Everything comes to a stop as I grapple to regain them, but I only have memory as my prompt and she is truly unreliable.