Reading poetry is like watching the waves break along the shore. Each is different. One crests in the middle, the next to the right. Then a series of low, rolling waves, as the ocean prepares to release the next set of big waves. Lines, verses, stanzas. All cadence.
When I was in the fourth grade, I listened to Robert Frost reading “Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening.” I knew just by listening that his words were not in a paragraph. His words seemed so . . . selected. I was mesmerized by the order and rhythm of his words.
Writing poetry is like a surfer, patiently sitting on her board, watching the waves approach. She sees a wave that seems like “the one,” and paddles towards it. She kneels and waits until just the right moment to stand and ride. As the wave subsides, and she lowers herself on her board, she turns around to wait for the next wave to select her. Yes, she is the one chosen, not the wave.