Chrysalis's Lament

An exercise in iambic tetrameter (I hope; I'm still working on hearing the accents properly).

Why is it when you have an inkling
To write a poem or a book
As soon as you put pen to paper
All your ideas turn to muck?

I have an image of myself now,
A caterpillar, hugely fed,
So full of facts that there is nothing
For me to do but go to bed.

I've feasted on the living history
Of men and women centuries gone,
Stuffed myself with facts and figures,
Manuscripts, their prayers and songs.

"What now," you say, "you're surely ready
To start on chapters of your book."
"But," I answer, "no, not really,
I'm all a mess, just take a look.

"There's nothing here that counts as writing,
Outlines, yes, but where to start?
With us, with them, or in the middle?
With prayer, with Mary, or with art?"

Someday soon I'll have to answer,
Tremble though at first I may.
Cocoons are nice, but flying's better,
If only I could find the way.


  1. In Myers-Briggs lingo, you must be an INTP (or maybe you're extroverted? can't tell). That's why you can't get started. Flex your 'J'.

  2. Actually, if I remember correctly, I officially tested (i.e. with a professionally administered Myers-Briggs test) as INTJ, which makes sense to me: it takes me a great deal of courage to overcome my J (Judging) of my work. I wonder what it would be like to be more P? But every project has this moment, regardless of your Myers-Briggs type: you've done the preparation but have yet to start the actual work of making. The difference would come in how each of us goes about getting through it.


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