I just got a rejection in the mail for my latest batch of poems, which is a bit disappointing, but now at least they are free to be sent somewhere else.
A few days ago, I purchased a copy of Mark Strand's book Dark Harbor: A Poem, published in 1993 by Alfre A Knopf, Inc. It begins with a poem entitled "Proem," a poem that serves as a preface to the book. In it, the speaker sets off on a journey, confident of "the way" and his desire to follow it. He does not reach his destination, but that does not bother him. It is the journey itself that allows him to "breathe," to say to himself, "This is the life." Let's use this as encouragement to keep following our poetic paths, eschewing discouragement and negativity, and enjoying even the rejections that may often appear disguised as obstacles.
"This is my Main Street," he said as he started off
That morning, leaving the town to the others,
Entering the high-woods tipped in pink
By the rising sun but still dark where he walked.
"This is the way," he continued as he watched
For the great space that he felt sure
Would open before him, a stark sea over which
The turbulent sky would drop the shadowy shapes
Of its song, and he would move his arms
And begin to mark, almost as a painter would,
The passages of greater and lesser worth, the silken
Tropes and calls to this or that, coarsely conceived,
Echoing and blasting all around. He would whip them
Into shape. Everything would have an edge. The burning
Will of weather, blowing overhead, would be his muse.
"This is the life," he said, as he reached the first
Of many outer edges to the sea he sought, and he buttoned
His coat, and turned up his collar, and began to breathe.