It seems to me that, at times, nothing helps with inspiration better than nature. This seems a bit cliche now, since this idea has been beaten to death by the Romantics and those that followed them. We’ve all heard enough about bowers, trees, the moon, water, etc. Throw it all away. It’s been done.
I don’t think of nature as a necessary step in my writing and have never, consciously, gone out into the wonderful wide world specifically to seek topics or images for a poem I’m writing or want to write (OK, well maybe this isn’t quite true — I remember a period when poems and writing were new to me…I didn’t know how to handle the process…I needed to have something to write about then and there). Nature often figures in my writing, but primarily because I’ve been striken by it, surprised in my experience of it. The scenes I remember most are the ones that caught me offguard, led me down a new path, injected a heightened sense of life into me, even if for only a moment…less than a moment…a microsecond of wonder. When this occurs I know not only that a poem can be written, but must be written. I must assume at that moment that what I’m experiencing is not something I am the only one to ever come to feel, but that my interpretation of it, my filter for the world must allow me to share with others how this occurance can be felt.
This idea of course sounds conceited, perhaps pompous, but the fact remains that if I don’t record or present this in the way it is known to me, then someone else might not. If that comes to pass then it amounts to some form of death, some loss to our understanding as a whole. Regardless of what I think of all this, it is nevertheless important for all writers to make the attempt, successful or not, to share with others this insight. The result may be a dirty, filthy piece of doggeral, or perhaps it can be something beautiful.