There are few things that will give you more power than knowledge. In the broadest sense, knowing subjects, details, facts will help you succeed at pretty much everything, poetry is no exception.
However poetry has a unique transparency, like much writing and art, that opens itself up to all matters of knowing. In fact, being better read, better acclimated to the world, will make your writing stronger and more universal.
I had a non fiction professor tell us that she reads scientific journals to better orient her stories. That there is often something poetic or profound about biology or quantum physics or the way planets move or the way plants replicate that helps her describe the phenomena in her own life. These connections are the reason to write. So think outside your literature box and being that to your poetry… it will greatly improve the depth and richness of your work.
That said, this poem was about the trial of Galileo, a point taken from a class I took way back when that covered some interesting points about astrobiology and all that madness. There were a few profound concepts, but the most poignant in my life was the last words Galileo said during his trial (she still moves).
These show up in the poem as the Truth, which I think worked out pretty well after the editing. My issue is something I come across frequently in my writing. The last line of the poem came to me first… so that means the whole poem needs to live up to that Truth… it’s a pretty tall order and there are a ton of issues with setting yourself up like that. It’s also a habit I continue to try and break.
With that, I tried to rhyme, so there’s a whole ton of crap that needed to go…
Remember with your work, if it’s not really really important take it out. My boyfriend reminded me last night as I was editing this, that I don’t like to read long fluffy poetry, so why impose that on someone else… it’s sage advice and I suggest we all take it…
Poetry comes from the world, so try and acclimate yourself to something new as often as possible… But when that nugget of greatness presents itself, try and build the poem for it instead of around it. When you finally get going, put only the great lines with your great Truth, that way your readers can enjoy your epiphany instead of endure it!