Poetic evolution

I don’t normally keep the drafts of my writing. Writing in a digital document means that usually I simply revise the text as I go along, re-reading and rewriting until I am happy with it. This has its disadvantages as once the original writing is gone then it cannot easily be recalled for reconsideration, or at least I cannot do that, but also the advantage that I don’t cling onto ideas or phrases that I discard. However, several months back I wrote the poem, More Dementor than Black Dog and I did keep the initial three drafts of my work.  

I would be interested to hear how other writers draft and redraft, in advance of any editing by a reviewer, especially in the digital age.


Draft #1

More like a Dementor than a Black Dog

Winston wrote of his Black Dog
How it would creep up on him
If he wasn’t busy creating; painting, writing, or laying bricks.
I think of a large lumbering Labrador but perhaps it was more,
To him perhaps akin to the Black Dog of folklore.

J.K gets much closer.
Her metaphor, more tragic
An encompassing weight that drops unannounced
In its cloak it clings like it needs to be fed
Music can work charms, although you have to choose wisely
For Dementors can feed on this too
And cause a spiral of despair.

Time to take Winnie’s advice
And get out the camera…


Draft #2

More like a Dementor than a Black Dog

Winnie’s black dog
would creep up on him
on moments of stillness.
No lumbering Labrador
but a silent lupine,
like the Black Dog of old lore
Cerebral creations:
painting, writing,
or laying bricks
would keep the beast at bay
when he sensed it nearby

J.K gets much closer.
A fearful vision,
of a hollow cloak
settling quietly
like a lead weight on your shoulders,
clinging, with a need to be fed
Music can work charms,
but choose your spell wisely
for Dementors can feed on this too
and cause a spiral of despair.

Time to take Winnie’s advice
And take out a pen…


Draft #3

More Dementor than a Black Dog

Winnie’s black dog
crept upon him
during moments of stillness.
No lumbering Labrador,
this stealthy lupine,
like the Black Dog of old lore
Cerebral defense:
painting, writing,
or laying bricks
would keep the beast at bay
at least for a time.

J.K gets much closer.
An apparition,
a billowing cloak
that settles quietly
becomes lead weight on your shoulders,
clinging, with a cry to be fed.
Music works for a spell
but choose your charms wisely.
For Dementors may feed on these too
to cause a spiral of despair.

Time to take Winnie’s advice
And take out a pen…


Please Click Here for the Final Version

2 thoughts on “Poetic evolution

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  1. I write with pen on paper, always. Typing just doesn’t work as well. I need the physical connection in the act of writing. After the first draft, which is always terrible, I start crossing out some parts and adding others. When the page is a mess, I write out a clean, new draft. I don’t keep old drafts. After that, each draft gets more and more focused on details and word choice. Eventually it’s done, meaning any more tinkering will just ruin what I have. It’s an old-school method, but it works for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Brian. It is strange that i do use paper to take notes at work and jot things down, but when I am “in the zone” I prefer to use a word processor. I guess it’s a case of “horses for courses”, as we used to say…

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