Poetic Asides: "For today's prompt, write a self-portrait poem. Other artists study themselves to create compositions (not all of them exactly flattering either), so it is only natural that poets, who are word artists, write self-portrait poems from time to time. In fact, some poets make self-portrait poetry "their main thing." For at least today, make it yours."Self-portraits are some of the hardest things to do. How to be honest to your audience and honest to yourself without exposing everything to the cruel light of Other People. Ego has a say, for some, a bigger say than others. I think sometimes think artistic self-portraits to be easier than written self-portraits. . . but mostly, we tend to exaggerate our good features and downplay our bad - at least a little bit. For me the impulse in writing is to be a tad too honest on somethings, and too circumspect on others.
The challenge in self-portrait, confessional, any of the "I" type of poetry is to talk about yourself in a manner that doesn't make other people roll their eyes and walk away-or turn the page. Somehow you have to bring out the things in yourself the reader can identify with, enough so it pulls them through the poem. Empathy is far stronger than sympathy.
My poem for today came out shorter than I expected. After all, this was me I was waxing philosophical about. But the poem demanded to be short and to the point. So "Mid-Life Eval" ended up being five stanzas of three lines each. It insisted on ending with a question, which is something I don't like to do, but the question is theologically strange, so I can live with it. It wasn't as kind to myself as I'd hoped it would be, but that's the danger of letting the muse have free rein to your psyche.