I remember as a teenager finding my path to poetry. My mother, practical woman that she is, said, “What the hell are you going to do with that?” In other words, don’t quit your day job! After that, for many years, I walked away from poetry. Oh I’d write an occasional poem for someone, but mostly it was my own “dirty little secret.”
Not anymore, and frankly, I’m glad. There are three basic reasons I write poetry: to capture moments, to understand the world and relationships, and to feed my soul.
Besides being a poet, I’m also an avid bird lover and amateur nature photographer. Often times, poems come from the photos I’ve taken or tried to capture; or moments with my children and now my grandchildren. The poems follow the seasons, months, special places I’ve been like the Grand Canyon or the Black Hills, or simple moments like watching fireflies or sunsets, or my grandson play with his trains.
Secondly, there are events in this world that affect us deeply and poetry gives me a method for healing, attempting to understand what’s going on covering diverse subjects from Hurricane Katrina to San Bernardino shootings, from Honduran refugees to Sandy Hook and 9/11. Writing poetry also becomes therapeutic when dealing with broken or difficult relationships. It’s tough to go through divorce, miscarriage and heartbreak without having support. And for me, poetry has given me much support, not only through the act of writing, but also networking with other writers.
Finally, I’ve learned that just the act of writing feeds my soul. Many times I’ll be walking outdoors or sitting by the lake and poems begin to emerge. Often, I’ll usually just get the first or last line (so frustrating!) and work in the rest later. Capturing those moments or thoughts and seeing the world through a different lens just plain delights me. There is real joy in those fleeting moments. I wouldn’t want it any other way.