This was sort of my major in college — at least, it was the part of my major I was most interested in. I used to carry around a notebook that was purposed solely for a random itch to rhyme (though my poems rarely do). I took all the poetry classes my schedule would allow. I searched for hours to find a book of poems by my favorite author, C.S. Lewis. I put together a book of my own as my honors thesis.

And I haven’t written a word since.

Nearly a year later, I’m beginning to remember why poetry and I had such a love affair. I love the way poetry sounds. I love the way beautiful words play with my mind — words that are thought through and not just carelessly thrown together. Its the same sort of thing that makes good books good and bad books bad — words, and the way they sound when you place them side by side. Should I use ‘lovely’ or ‘beautiful’? — knowing that each carries within the reader’s mind its own set of pictures and memories. I love that, as I attempt to explain this enjoyment, I can’t begin in the slightest to nail down the thrill of good words.

This must be one of God’s greatest enjoyments from what seemed like punishment at the Tower of Babel — all these different languages, all these separate words, each with their own specific meaning. What we would learn of Him if we could know them all.

Somewhere between giving up my cheap, tattered notebook for a computer screen, and fighting with deadlines for my thesis, I’d lost all of this — this joy to experience something, simply because it is beautiful, it is lovely. I don’t know how that happened. I think its rather sad, and I wish I could express what an ‘ah-ha’ moment this is for me. I’ve wondered for months why I couldn’t bring myself to write.

Today, during Jones’s fifth nap of the day (and he’s not crying when I put him down today — hoorah!), I got out my thesis and read through the poems, just for kicks. And I remembered how much I used to enjoy my meager attempts at this form of art. Description of God’s world and its people — oh so fun!

I think I want to try again. 🙂 I might get a new notebook. And I think I’m going to post an oldie (but, hopefully, a goodie).

{mornings on st. paul}

we meet here often,
the petite old lady and i.

today she wears a
purple sweater and
black stocking cap
(it’s cold outside)
and drinks coffee with cream.

we buy the same muffin.

today she does a crossword
but sometimes just sits
by the window and stares outside,
sipping her drink,
always by herself.

she watched the people
move in and out of the
store as I do, studying them
as they order their drinks
laugh with each other
chat with the barista.

today i wonder
as much as other days
if she used to come here
with someone,
if she thinks of him as
she stares out the window,
if she really likes
crosswords and books,
if she is just
by herself or if she
is lonely
(there is a difference, you know)
and if i should talk with her.

she reminds me of grandma betty,
and i want to love her.


One thought on “Poetry

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