Writing Challenge #9

What’s Original Anyway?

As I write this I am listening to Dua Lipa’s beautiful song “Homesick” on her amazing album that I am completely obsessed with. Weirdly I’ve always found that songs with good lyrics actually help me to write. Many people say they can’t write when listening to music because they can’t think of anything other than the words of that song, but as many creatives know all too well, there is nothing original in this world, we are all just reinventing and taking inspiration from those we look up to. This reflects a lot on today’s theme, the response poem normally uses a few words and the form of the poem it’s responding to. In a way, all creative work is just a response to the people it was inspired by, which to me is much more admirable than trying to make something “original”.

And so today I respond to one of my poetical idols, Emily Dickinson, a poet who wrote purely for the joy of it, not to sell but to live through. Though she led a pretty sheltered life her poems are so rich and beautifully written. I hope I do her justice.

Emily – a Response to “Hope”

“Hope” is the thing that clings to my teeth-
That perches on my tongue-
Singing wingless words from my gut-
No one hears a single one-

And Emily there’s a gale inside-
And my mind is frayed-
I can hardly taste sweet liquor-
That helped with the charade-

I’ve heard it in the softest voice-
And from the blackened sea-
But never in heartache-
Did it take the words from me.

Responding to a poem feels like writing to a close friend. There’s a certain comfort to the words that you’re echoing, as though the poet can hear them and understands. I hope you enjoyed my challenge.



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