Sitting out here on the patio, enjoying the thunder, lightening and rain a few mornings back, I was reminded of a poem I read when I was a child, "I Saw God Wash the World Last Night". I looked it up in the old, old book of poetry my mother gave me, "Best Loved Poems of the American People" and read it again.
In 1980, Mama gave me my own leather bound copy of "101 Famous Poems". Together, we had worn out the volume she had when I was young, so she gave me a new one.
Mama loved to read and write. She wrote short stories, some of which I still have copies. She wrote poetry, one of which was published in the Texas Public Employee Association Magazine. She wrote a beautiful, heartfelt poem when my sister's husband was killed at the age of 26.
Mama read to us before we were old enough to read, "Miss PiggleWiggle's Magic," "No Children No Pets" among many others.
She led my sister, Peggy, and me to share her love of words.
Listening to my writer friends talk about the books they read as kids, I wondered "Why have I not read those books?" such as "A Wrinkle in Time", the Nancy Drew mysteries etc. And the answer came to me one day, " because I was reading poetry."
My dad usually worked the 2nd shift at a bowling alley so evenings were quiet around our house. Peggy had more friends to run around with than I did, so Mama would sit with me and we'd read to one another, the poems we liked best. As I grew older, she'd have me read her favorites myself, then we would talk about the meaning often hidden deep in the poet's lines.
Looking back, it seems we lost our poetry connection when boys became more interesting to me than anything else, and Mama and I never re-established it. Maybe more than losing the connection, it just shifted to books, kids and day to day problems.
Mama's been gone a long time now and suddenly I have new poets in my life, Monica McCawley, Gail Wisdom and Deborah Kegley. Though all these women are poets, they are as different as night and day.
Monica writes what she calls, "Poetry Portraits" for special occasions -- or no occasion at all. She has the customer fill out a questionaire and from the information on that form, she writes a beautiful, completely personal poem. Along with a photo supplied by the customer, she prints the poem and frames it.
I ordered a Poetry Portrait from Monica for my husband on our last Valentine's Day. In a nutshell, she captured our forty five years together perfectly. With tears in his eyes, Ronnie told me "That's the best gift you have ever given me."
I can't remember now exactly what the questions were on the form, but I do remember wondering what in the world Monica would do with the snippets I gave her. I didn't expect much. Was I ever surprised!
As if Gail Wisdom was here in Wichita Falls on Tuesday, April 10, 1979, she captured, in free style poetry, the terror, the horror and the hope of that day of devastating tornadoes, which she only experienced from looking through photographs of before and after. Her poem "Terrible Tuesday" will be published in the upcoming edition of the Wichita Falls Literature and Art Review. Congratulations, Gail! I am so proud of you!
Deborah Kegley writes the deep, thought provoking poetry much like that I read and discussed with my mother. I don't write poetry, so I have no idea what makes poets "tic", how they handle inspiration so that it ends up in the form that it does, but I know there is something magical about the creation of poetry.
Deborah found inspiration in an unusual "fortune cookie" which said something similar to, "for true love, dip a red rose in gold." She wrote two poems. In each poem, she makes reference to the gold covered rose -- but in two different ways. One poem left me feeling alarmed, the other made me feel sad.
I'm looking forward to hearing more of Deborah's poetry.
Tomorrow night, I will attend the "Evening Interlude at the Forum". We will have snacks and wine and hear James Hoggard, Antuan Simmons, Sheri Sutton and Steven Schroeder read their poetry. Kenny Hada will play his guitar.
I didn't realize how much I missed the poetry until it starting coming back into my life. I picked up "101 Famous Poems" yesterday and began to read Renassaince, by Edna St. Vincent Millay and suddenly, I felt like was back in our living room on Buchanan Street -- reading with my mother.
"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin
Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.
"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham
"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran
“And forget not