On a bright sunny day during springtime, I was walking through the shadowy forms of luscious trees in a wood. That day seemed eternal at that moment, that one unfolding, cascading, timeless moment. I loved walking amidst trees, especially in a dense congregation such as that, absorbing the vibrancy of the itsy tendril of a forest.
Someone spoke, asking each of us, the humans, not the trees, to write a poem. Specifically, the assignment was to write a haiku. Instructions and review of haiku and some seed ideas were given in case we didn’t remember our earlier lessons.
I could come up with nothing. All I knew how to do in the forest was be, live, cook, build, and hike. So accustomed to forest life was I, perhaps I felt I could do anything and everything in a forest. Except write. The sense of fullness I had reveled in moments before turned to empty dread of my wordless mind, that wood ensconced twig of graphite, and the empty sheet of pressed pulp which I helplessly held. It was as if the paper stretched on in every direction yet was filled only with a menacing infinite void, as if I had been asked to harm the perfect paper with the pencil by casting twisted shadows of the beautifully lush forest upon it in crude scribblings.
I was not able to complete the assignment then, nor in all the years since. Yet over time I have slowly found poetry to be a great source of joy, both in the reading of it, in some vague facsimile thereof the writing of it, and even more remarkably the sharing of it.