I wrote a fantasy poem, forgot it, and had to rewrite it. | BTS of “Siren”

Syd Wachs
Syd Wachs
Jun 27, 2019 · 3 min read
Image by me, Syd Wachs—please do not reproduce

This is what she said to me:
‘I must know the depths of thee.’

She brought you to the cliff, you see —
She tells you things you won’t tell me.

The wind, it howls its final score;
The ocean beats its wild roar

She ate your heart,
You wanted more;

Now feel your feet
Leave earthen floor.

— siren

The backstory of this one: in 2017, I wrote a fantasy-themed poem in my “Everything Notebook.”

If you haven’t been following me for a little while, my Everything Notebook is where, well, Everything goes. It has no apparent structure but I somehow have all the contents mapped out in my head. I’ve tried the cool bullet journal thing. My brain’s way too chaotic.

I digress. This fantasy piece was one of my poems that I really liked best, but when I was looking for it about a year later, I couldn’t find it.

It was gone. Without a trace.

My thought: Well…sh*t. There goes that one.

However, I just couldn’t forget about it. A couple of lines were still in my head, echoing incessantly, keeping me up at night. This poem wouldn’t give me a break. It was simply meant to be in this collection (which I’m currently putting together).

Here are the lines that kept nagging at me:

‘This is what she said to me:
I must know the depths of thee.
She ate your heart,
you wanted more,

…and that’s all I could remember. I think it was actually more the rhythm of the poem that stuck with me more than the words, and that turned out to be a great base for me to build onto.

In addition to the rhythm, I could recall very clearly the mental image I had when writing it. It was based on a longer story-poem of the same “evil siren” theme that I wrote on a big yellow legal pad when I was probably no older than 13 or 14.

With these obscure pieces of the puzzle in mind, I was able to spend some time filling in the missing lines of the poem. It might have taken some degree of laser focus that left me with a slight headache, but my writing is very feelings-based, and the final result felt right.

Let this be reassurance for you: poets do not necessarily memorize all of their poems! Out of over 100 I have on my Evernote right now, I could probably only recite from memory 2 or 3, and they’d be shorter works.

Some people (no doubt) are able to memorize words much easier. For me, I remember rhythm, mental imagery, and feelings associated with each one.

Think of it like getting a sudden whiff of a scent you haven’t smelled since childhood and it suddenly whisks you back to a certain place. You can hear the music that was playing, see the clouds in the sky, or maybe even taste what you’d eaten for breakfast that morning.

I’m always curious to hear how other creators remember their work.

Are you more of an “emotional rememberer” or do you store words in your noggin with ease?

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