I used to write poems.
I used to think like a poet. I chose words deliberately. I honed phrases. I toyed with sound and rhythm and meaning.
I used to be a child.
I used to be a young girl who would get up at 5 a.m. so that I could wave out the window at my grandpa as he stood at the bus stop waiting to go to work. I would wait as the bus stopped, between him and me, so that when the bus moved off, he had vanished.
One day, when I was six years old, I went to live with him and my grandma and they became my parents. I didn’t have to watch from the window any more. I would instead watch from our front window waiting for him to come home from work.
He was not a poet. He didn’t play with words. He was a musician. He played with sound and song and rhythm.
We were alike in many ways. Same quick tempers, same lack of patience with uncooperative inanimate objects, same lack of suffering fools gladly. Same, shall I say, stubbornness? The sameness set us at odds often as I grew up and he wasn’t grandpa any more but dad.
We were alike in other ways too. We like to make things and build things and fix things and grow things and take care of animals. He used to stand me up on a chair at his workbench and teach me how to hammer a nail properly so that I wouldn’t be “helpless like your mother.” [his words]
When he died, it was incomprehensible. A hero gone.
And somehow, poetry went with him. I found it difficult to write a poem since his death.
Did I mention that he passed 33 years ago? Funny how things can seem like just yesterday and at the same time like eons ago?
Today, inexplicably I felt like writing a poem. I thought I would read one first … you know … just to remember an old self. I let the computer decide and read its choice.
It was incomprehensible.
I thought, “apparently it was not only the ability to write poems that he took with him, but also the ability to read them.”
Can that be?
But no. I think the computer chose a bad poem. The poem was a careful positioning of words. Each word in itself was lovely. They just seemed to have a lack of relationship or relevance to each other so that they could not impart meaning!
The poem was a careful positioning of words like a bouquet of flowers. Flowers that prefer sun or shade or tropics, all positioned to make a beautiful statement of color before they wither and die.
My dad and I prefer gardens, lush flowers and ferns and grass and greenery that live on.
I prefer a poem that is a garden, where words live in relationship to each other and have meaning and grow in meaning so that each subsequent reader who finds the poem can find meaning and new meaning.
I prefer poets who have something to say to me and to you and not just to themselves.
Maybe tomorrow I will write a poem. A seed for the garden.
Today I will plant a live plant, a flower, a plume celosia because they always amazed my dad. And I will see him still, wondering about the celosia.
I prefer that image, don’t you? Because often I see the bus as it drove off and the empty space where dad used to stand. Often I hear the lack of music that he left.
And what poetry used to be.
Patt Timlin is a marketing expert set on sharing her expertise with other online marketers to help them achieve the dream of working online. She is secretly pleased with the surge in content marketing as revenge of the English majors! Entrepreneur, blogger, guide, helper – Patt loves the online world and loves to share it!
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