This is how I wrote it:


Or, rather, how I rewrote it. Because I first wrote the poem back in 2004, and published it on my student website, where it looked a lot like this:

The original version, as it appeared on my student webpage in 2004.

(Apparently, I was all for the centre alignment back then, and a nice, readable colour scheme, unlike the earlier version of the website which was BRIGHT, the sort of BRIGHT that can only be written in capital letters.)

When Tre L. Loadholt posted a one-lined poem prompt about music back in August, I was haunted by a vague memory of the last stanza of Believe. I decided there and then that I needed to revisit the poem. I started immediately, and even wrote about it in my response.

I’d always loved that stanza, and I thought of the poem as a standout piece in a collection of self-indulgent drivel called Light Years. Although, back when I wrote it, I thought the whole collection was brilliant. That worries me: how will I feel about today’s writing in twelve years’ time?

Here’s an article by Jeff Goins:

Does it feel all-too-familiar to you, too? When I read it a few days ago, I decided I’d stalled for too long, and it was time to finally re-finish and re-publish Believe.

I liked

  • the overall feel of the poem
  • words such as promise, gift, colour, and painted
  • the repetition of some days at the start of the first two stanzas
  • the final stanza in its entirety.

I didn’t like

  • repetition of the word day within the second stanza
  • use of prepositions, articles or conjunctions to begin most lines
  • the way the final stanza sat a bit awkwardly with the rest of the poem, because it didn’t follow the pattern, and wasn’t strengthened by rhyme.

Those two lists were a great starting point for reinventing my poem, because it gave me a specific list of things to work on…with the exception of that last point. While the problem was easy to find, the solution wasn’t.

Then I got the idea of dropping a stanza. I balanced the poem by adjusting the line lengths and adding lines between the first two stanzas. I also added some rhyme between the stanzas: Set me a stage and Print me a page. And I mirrored my world with your word and you’ll awaken with I will sing.

I’m delighted with the result. For now, that is. Am I comfortable with calling it a result? Perhaps it’s a current version, not necessarily the final version…because who knows how I’ll feel about it in 2028.