Sometimes Poetry Happens: a poem about the mystery of creativity

Sometimes Poetry Happens

Some poets can write
from reflected experience
referring back to what was written.

Others need to be there,
in full view of their subject,
opening up to what’s being given.

Sometimes poetry happens between the two.

It’s then you don’t really write the poem.
It writes you!
You just put it down on paper.

When you see it there,
You’ve captured it.
Or, rather, it’s captured you.

What really happened between the two?

To explore that space
between you and me
is to discover who we are.

For deep within,
at the source of the gap
lie the togetherness of the three—

the seer, the seen, and the poetry … in between.

© Ken Chawkin

The previous poem, ODE TO THE ARTIST, was shruti, an account of that which was heard, while Sometimes Poetry Happens, was smriti, the memory of that which had happened. ODE TO THE ARTIST, Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park won the Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum’s Distinguished Poet Award, (1988), and was published in the Winter edition of Treasured Poems of America, and Sometimes Poetry Happens made it into their Summer edition, both published in 1990. Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum, Inc. is located in Sistersville, West Virginia, USA.

Here is a recent interview that features both of these poems: PR to poetry – how things sometimes happen to Ken Chawkin. I alluded to it in this post: Publicist and Poet @KenChawkin featured @TMhome_com. Learning to let go to let magic happen #creativity #TMmeditation.

14 Responses to “Sometimes Poetry Happens: a poem about the mystery of creativity”

  1. Poets Kenneth Rexroth and William Wordsworth Experienced Transcendence and Self-Awareness | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] but not quite as eloquently as these masters! Two earlier published poems, Ode to the Artist and Sometimes Poetry Happens, share this mysterious interacting with nature and the creative […]


  2. Billy Collins suggests more creative ways to respond to poetry than analyzing it to death | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] early meta-poems describe this process: Writing—a poem on the writing process, and Sometimes Poetry Happens: a poem about the mystery of creativity. Two early poems I’d written that surprised me with their endings are, As Above So Below, and […]


  3. BLUE: a translucent painting by Bill Teeple at ICON Gallery on Fairfield’s 1st Friday’s Art Walk | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Here’s a related poem that talks about the mystery of the creative process: Sometimes Poetry Happens. […]


  4. A profound poem from Karen Karns asks us — WHAT COULD BE MORE INTIMATE? | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] My first published poem was about a creative experience with lotus pads. The editor requested another poem, which became a commentary on that mysterious interaction: Sometimes Poetry Happens. […]


  5. William Stafford’s last poem now seemed prophetic—an unintended literary epitaph | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park and the reflection on how it happened when it wrote me: Sometimes Poetry Happens: a poem about the mystery of creativity. I discuss these experiences in the last part of an interview posted on […]


  6. Thomas Merton’s golden poem, Song for Nobody | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] lotus pads, and the poetic commentary that followed, reflecting upon that intimate experience in Sometimes Poetry Happens, where the three—the seer, the seen, and the poetic process—are one, and that oneness is […]


  7. negative capability, reverse seeing, beauty & the desire for transcendence & unity in life & poetry | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] I also mention another poem that later came out of that experience. The editor had wanted me to submit a poem for their next publication so I wrote about how some poems come to be written. It was sort of a commentary on the first one. You can read “Sometimes Poetry Happens” on my blog:…/. […]


  8. Tony Walsh @LongfellaPoet’s poem, Take This Pen, inspires Brits to contribute to @PoetryDayUK | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Here’s one of my earliest poems about this magical creative process: Sometimes Poetry Happens: a poem about the mystery of creativity. […]


  9. I found this beautiful ethereal painting online, Walking Lily, by Vietnamese artist Xuan Loc Xuan | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] poem for their next publication, and I wrote about that mysterious, creative interaction in Sometimes Poetry Happens, which he also published. Those experiences gave me the confidence to keep writing, and a flood of […]


  10. Better Read Than Dead, a poem by Ken Chawkin | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] Updated with these relevant poems: Sometimes Poetry Happens: a poem about the mystery of creativity, and Celebrating Poetry Month with one of my poems, Poetry—The Art of the Voice, and what […]


  11. What is Poetry and where does it come from? | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] some of of my poems about the mystery of poetry and the creative process: Sometimes Poetry Happens; a seven-haiku poem, Coalescing Poetry: Creating a Universe; and the effect of Poetry—The Art of […]


  12. deborahbrasket Says:

    Beautifully expressed! So much I love here. “The poem writes you”, yes. and the part about “the gap.” That’s an area that has always fascinated me, the gaps and the interstices. Something so elemental here, so worth exploring further. And the last line–perfect. Thank you for leading me to this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ken Chawkin Says:

      Glad you resonated with the sentiment of the poem. I had a feeling you might. Surprisingly, the first two-thirds of the poem flowed out effortlessly. It was blissful to write. I could have ended it there with the question about the mystery of the creative process, leaving the reader to ponder about what happened. But I wanted to offer a deeper perspective as a possible answer. That’s when I got bogged down in trying to write the last third section of the poem. The bliss stopped and it became an arduous intellectual task. I was out of the flow; I just couldn’t do it. So I gave up and laid down to rest. I just let it go. My mind settled down into itself, and the solution soon popped into my mind! It all came together and I quickly got up to write it down. The essence of it came out in the last line, and it rhymed! It was perfect. It wrote itself! It blew my mind. I couldn’t take any credit for that. Just felt blessed to have been a conduit for it to come out.


  13. William Stafford prescribed creative writing to find your own voice and reveal your inner light | The Uncarved Blog Says:

    […] I was naturally influenced by what I was reading and experiencing at the time. Some of my first inspired attempts were very meta, a commentary on Writing—a poem on the writing process, and Sometimes Poetry Happens: a poem about the mystery of creativity. […]


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