Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Tale of a Mediocre Poet

I started writing poetry when I was in 5th grade.

I wrote my first poem in a crisp new composition book. It was the beginning of the school year, and filled with scholarly ambition, I scribbled a short poem during some free time, hoping to earn the approval of my teacher and Mother.

That poem went something exactly like this:

As the new morning dawn
The flower stirs, the bluebird yawns
All creatures quiver with delight
As earth is flooded with new light
All the darkness been deleted
All the evil been defeated
All the creatures ooh and ah
At the glory of our God

It was a simple little thing, filled with young, overdone emotion and easy rhymes. But I was ridiculously proud of that thing. I had discovered a new power, a new ability in myself. Obviously I was incredibly talented and could write this stuff for a living someday! I circulated it amongst the literate members of my family and each one praised me for it with an encouraging word, patted me on the head and forgot about. But I didn't.

After that, I didn't need much encouraging to write some more, even though my Mother was duly impressed with my effort. I loved the timing and rhyming of a poem. I loved the tight emotion it could convey. I loved the effortless flow and the gentle ebb of the words. And I loved that I could make them do that.

As the years went by (oh goodness, I sound old now...) I wrote on and off. Sometimes almost years went by and I would write nothing. Good poems, bad poems, downright awful poems and poems I dare not even call poems. Some days were better than others, some years were better than others. I would go months without writing one and then I would right four in one day.

A smile says what words cannot
A presents from above
A gentle hand can heal a heart
For these are act of love

Sun sinks lower in the sky
Now 'tis dusk, the day gone by
The birds last call, they cease to fly
The little moon, both sleek and sky
Here she now peeks out her head
Sun, away has softly tread
Nature tucked into her bed
Man takes leave and rests his head

Heart, I need to talk to you
I must know what you're thinking
Are you trying to break yourself?
Are you fond of sinking?
Heart, what are you playing here?
I'm not playing to
Heart, what are you trying to pull?
I need to talk to you

A symphony of sorrow
Is being played tonight
When nearer is tomorrow
Than yesterday's last light
I hear it on my windowpane
The tears that from the sky
Fall down for this lonely plain
And for the cricket's cry
I hear the rumble, bold and true
The thunder's mighty roll
Lightning tears the sky in two
And leaves an empty hole
The song repeats it's sweet refrain
And rolls across the sky
It plays it for this lonely plain
And for the cricket's cry

I never name them. I never date them. The only way I know when they came from is what notebook or text document I find them in. They are all grouped together and written sloppily, littered with crossed out words, arrows pointing to new sentences, hidden amongst doodles and random scribbles. Sometimes they are truly pathetic, but only two or three have I thrown away once they were completed. The few I have chosen for you are just a glimpse of many like them.

I have written many and lost many. I have loved some and hated some. They mean so much and yet nothing to me. I know they are poorly done and sometimes even very bad. But I keep on writing them. I think I might always write them. It has simple stuck with me and at some point became a part of me.

Only recently have I come to an appreciation of other people's poetry. I used to try to read it, but it was too wordy or written in a way I couldn't relate to as the shallow, dense whippersnapper I pretend I'm not anymore. But now, I love it dearly. I prefer short poems to long ones and I have trouble following it sometimes, but truly, there is nothing more beautiful than Wordsworth, Poe and Dickinson.

The tale of this mediocre poet, brief though it may be, is best summarized in my works themselves. They are simple. They convey nothing great, wise and wonderful. They are just the thoughts and observations of a humble mind and I submit them, and this tale, to your scrutiny with that same humility. I know they are not much, but neither am I. We make a happy little pair, simple though we are.

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