Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gifts

[Sunrise over Kelowna - photo by my son, Jon Merk]


Ella's prompt at Real Toads is to write about gifts, or to write about the first poem that really meant something to you, after which your love affair with poetry began.

I began falling in love with words when I was very young. I have been carrying home an armload of books from the library weekly since I was five - that is a lot of books. I lost myself in them, and still do. I always have a book on the go, and twenty more stacked waiting by my bedside.

The first poem that began my writing journey was one I wrote myself. I dont know why or what sparked it, but I wrote it, and the floodgates were opened. A torrent of poems flowed through me, for the rest of my life. Many composed in my teens were written   in language that seemed to come through me from somewhere else, someone older, with some  understanding of things my teenage brain certainly wasnt yet capable of  comprehending.

I wote feverishly all through high school. The teachers were very good. They encouraged me and turned a blind eye to my feverish scribbling, which I could not help - when a poem was coming, nothing else mattered. I had to write it.

I hadnt read much poetry until then, but was drawn to the classic novels: Wuthering Heights (Heathcliff!), especially.  I loved all of the Brontes, books full of moors and turbulence and suppressed longing.

During high school I  was finally exposed to poetry and loved so many of the poets:  Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, e.e. cummings.

I remember writing these lines in class, then sitting and staring at them, wondering where they had come from and what they meant. It was 1960. My dad had died that summer before high school started, and I was just barely fourteen.

Each acquaintance on the road to Never
whispers through the soul
and leaves a soft thought to remember
when tomorrow dawns cold.
It seems each person that I meet
on this long journey to the end of things
is someone I can love
and I must tell him of my love
for if my heart stopped beating
e'er one more sky was streaked with dawn,
how would my many loves live on,
uncertain of this extra dream of life
only my heart, in love, can dwell upon?

12 comments:

  1. Beautiful thoughts...I envy you for writing earlier on, and finding your muse. I am a late bloomer but I do understand the feeling of wonder when the words come out...thanks for sharing this ~

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  2. Wow! I can identify now with the words pouring out, but that is amazing writing for a 14-year-old, Sherry. Thanks for sharing it.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your poetry journey..I too began writing as a teenager, but in my adult years put away my pen..I only started writing again the end of 2009. The poem you wrote at 14 is beautiful and mature beyond your years..so glad your gift to write continues for all of us to read.

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  4. Wow, and beautiful, Sherry. So glad YOU are still writing and reading in the NOW.

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  5. Wow, Sherry, I am in awe of the beauty and view you had at 14 and your view now~
    Thank you for sharing how this journey and love all started! It truly was a gift to read your beautiful poem~ Thank you!

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  6. It seems each person that I meet
    on this long journey to the end of things
    is someone I can love...

    Now that is a gift, which so few people in this world are open to receiving. It's why you shine, Sherry.

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  7. My grandfather died when my mom was 13. I wish she'd written a poem like this one.

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  8. that is a beautiful poem, right there. love your story, love it. and you, of course.

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  9. This astounds me. Pure and simple, it astounds me ... coming from a fourteen year old. It is filled with beauty ... as is most of your poetry. There is a fullness to your poetry which always makes it very satisfying to read.

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  10. Heartfelt and simple. And you were only fourteen? What a meaningful gift to be able to write this way, and what a meaningful gift for us to share it!

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I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!