Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been re-visiting some old poems and re-drafting, revising and re-writing.
Some of the changes are substantial – whole stanzas, refurbished, renovated, knocked in together or removed completely. With changes like this it’s usually clear whether the result is an improvement.
Other changes, though, are less clear cut. I feel like Oscar Wilde when he said he’d been hard at work all day on a poem: “This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back in again.”
I know that every little detail of a poem is important, but sometimes I feel that recognising the exact best version is like trying to find the prettiest flower in a patch like the one in the picture.