(I’m guessing here.)
It takes two minutes to write the first four lines.
It takes an hour and a half to write the next five and a half lines.
It takes three hours to revise the nine and a half lines.
It takes three days to find the correct epithet for line 7.
It requires a currently indefinite period to decide what to do about the half line. Options:
- Rewrite it to become a whole line (but will that weaken it)
- Take a half line out somewhere else and join up the two remaining halves
- If so, which half line should be axed and how can the disjointed be conjoined?
- Think of some extra statement and incorporate the half line into it so that there is an even number – say twelve lines
- … but what’s wrong with odd numbers and anyway I like asymmetry
- Say sod it and keep the half line to give it prominence and clunk
- Put the nine and a half lines in the bin
Since I really like three of the lines and the half line this debate may take some time. Indeed, six months on I am still searching for a vital word in another short poem. No Complete Works to be published any time soon, I think. And then it may only have eleven pages.