Not All You Are

Imagine the perfect space.
Empty and pristine.
Imagine it is filled
With all that you have made.
The time will come.

Now I am trapped.
Filled with dread of the thought
Of making anything.
But then
When, with elation…

You are not only what you make.
You will not greet your art
At the end, as you look back.
You will greet yourself arriving.

Have you made it, you ask?
Is the room filled?
Can it ever be?
Your art is everywhere, as are you.
At your own door, in your own mirror.

The art is a part of your soul,
But it is not all you are.
Others will judge you only for it.
Find the ones who don’t.
Find the one who understands.
You and they will share the art
Between you, like a red thread,
And each will smile at the other’s welcome.


I originally misread the design of a golden shovel poem, whereby the last word of each line formed a different poem. Instead I read that the last LINE formed a poem, automatically presuming the last line of each stanza. Even when I reread it correctly I decided to try it the way that I had first understood it. This method is, strictly speaking, probably easier to do, so call it an amateur’s license.

You can read the original poem, the first stanza of which I used, here: ‘Love After Love’ Derek Walcott.

The original poem is a tale of life after love. Mine is a tale of life before it.