Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
~ Robert Frost
The poem that started it all for me… I was in 5th grade, re-reading the Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, and I copied that poem over and over again in my notebooks. It resonated with me on a level that I couldn’t define until later in adulthood, even after writing hundreds of poems and publishing one of two books of poetry. This poem spurred me to write my first one about a year later following the passing of a Sunday School teacher, which followed a similar pattern and theme:
Nature’s gift to us is life,
Not to be fraught with strife.
To live, to die,
To be laid upon the ground-
Nothing more precious ever was found.
Deep down into the graves,
where they were laid,
there is a hope, a dream,
like a lone start at night.
Waiting to be passed on to the next generation,
where there lingers a question.
I didn’t write another for two years, but when I did, I poured out through my pen words I couldn’t speak. I found the medium I’d been searching for, but I needed guidance. It took yet another year before I would continue to write, spurred on by a poetry unit in my English class at school. That unit cemented in me a lifelong pattern of writing… asking questions and finding answers to them in my own soul, some of which would take years before I could fully realize their meaning. Existentialism, romance, fear, wisdom, pain, and Spiritualism found their voice through the pen. By the end of my high school career, I had three journals of poetry, which have followed me from home to home over the past 25 years.
When I was 19, I had my first computer, and I decided to type up every piece I’d written in chronological order, in case something ever happened to my journals. I kept an ongoing file, double column, of 78 pages by the year 2005, transferring the file from floppy disk to hard drive to thumb drive. In 2006, I’d started another file… oddly enough, that was the year that I moved to my current hometown and my life began to rapidly change. Writing became my personal absolution until I came to a point that everything I wrote was so riddled with pain, dark imagery, and self pity that I stopped writing.
For the next 3 years, I’d try to write from time to time, but each time hit a mental block because I was no longer in touch with my own truth… only the mis-perceptions that stemmed from my most painful experiences. It wasn’t until I’d found the courage to get out of some painful situations that I was able to start writing again. For the first time in years, I wrote of the joy and freedom I felt that had been so elusive. I wrote of my re-connection to the universe. And I wrote of the lessons that I was learning.
Poetry month is over. I’m still churning out more poetry. I have a second book out, and am writing semi-regularly. I find myself editing much more than I used to. Most of my life, I never edited my poetry, but the past couple of years I have found a natural evolution in certain pieces, and deeper lessons in others, and I feel compelled to change them. I write more academically and semi-professionally than I do for personal reasons these days, but I enjoy keeping a semi-regular blog, and sharing certain poems with whomever cares to read it.
I write this to encourage anyone out there who feels that they don’t have a voice to do whatever it takes to express yourself. It doesn’t matter if you write, paint, sing, play an instrument, knit, sew, compulsively organize, dance, get lost in mathematical patterns or build things. Expression is everything when it comes to learning about ourselves, sharing with others, and giving something of substance and value~ be it to ourselves or the world. Whatever it is that you love to do, do more of it, and don’t let anything stop you. When I watch people around me go through life, those that I know who are empty inside are the ones that aren’t in touch with their own creative voice and power. Find that voice and let it go… you never know where it may lead.