“Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement.” …Christopher Fry
I’m not a poet, but the poem here is one of the very first things I had published many years ago. If I remember correctly, I was paid all of three dollars for these words, but seeing it on the pages of Home Life when I was in desperate need of encouragement was, as that commercial says, priceless. I wrote this poem while rocking my nephew who was around two at the time. I think he still feels proud of helping me launch my writing career all those years ago. I also had another poem accepted by a youth Sunday School magazine, but if it was ever published I didn’t see a copy. It was about snowflakes. Funny the things a person remembers.
I was never a poet, but I did like playing with words when I started trying to get published. I could do little poetry rhymes in my head while I was doing other tasks – like rocking a baby to sleep. I joke now and say I used to write poems while I ironed. If I iron at all these days, it’s on an as needed basis. Not long enough to compose poetry. I never really knew anything about poetry writing. I counted syllables and sounds. Not exactly a method that was going to launch me in the poetry world.
That’s okay, because I like writing books. As soon as I wrote my first novel, I deserted the short articles and stories I’d been trying to write and plunged into the novel writing world. I’ve never looked back. No more poems. No more short stories. No more personal interest pieces. Of course I had to write three entire novels before that third one was published.
The reason I’m thinking about poetry today is that last night I went to a reception for writers, publishers and editors. Each attendee was supposed to put what they did on a blank line of their name tags. A lot of the people I met had poet written on their tags. I wonder if they were like me and hesitated writing that label. It took me years to be able to come right out and say I was a “writer.” I had already written a lot of words by then. Maybe a poet knows in his or her soul that he or she is a poet and the claim comes easy. But I knew in my soul I was a writer before I was a teenager and yet the claim was not easy to voice.
You know what? If I still did those hours of ironing like I used to, I might be able to write a poem about that. A simple poem that rhymed, but what ryhmes with writer? Brighter. Fighter. Lighter. Biter. Triter. Uh-uh. I’d better quit while I’m ahead. Besides I need all my words and creative energy to write this new Shaker book and try to keep it from being trite.
But here’s another great quote for those of you who are poets. “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” …Leonard Cohen
How about it? Have you written any poetry? Have you ever wanted to write a poem?