To my amazement, I have chosen a final variation for the last stanza of “Mist on the Mountain”, and the poem is complete! I shall now spend a few more days reviewing it—that is, reading, reciting and editing it where necessary—but I mark it on my list as a finished work. I should add that there is an alternative version of the poem which I keep as a personal indulgence rather than a possibility for the collection. It differs from the final draft in the first three stanzas where a few significant words are replaced, and in the fourth stanza where I use an anecdotal approach.
There are times when a line must introduce a new thought or element to a stanza, and times when it must expand or reflect upon one already introduced. Not every line in a poem must express something new; the poet must measure out his thoughts in considered couplets, comparing their contents one with the other.
When after weeks of agonising over a poem, its completion is in sight, and its format, length, rhyming scheme and metre—the very words that make up its lines—seem so obvious, natural and inevitable, a part of one (somewhat confusingly and despite knowing the answer) ponders how something so simple—and, to one’s mind, pleasant—could arise from so agonising and complex a process!