Here is a format with which I struggle deeply. Like any preteen girl, especially in the early 90s, I started my writing career with poetry. Most of it was lyrical, romantic in nature, and rhymed. Everything rhymed. Like most young girls, I thought that’s what poetry was – rhyming verse. It wasn’t until I took my first creative writing class my freshman year in high school, that I realized poetry doesn’t have to rhyme. As a matter of fact, some of my favorite poets abandon the rhyming concept all together – bless them! And when I too chose to abandon trying to find a word that was approximate enough to match with purple (which I never did, by the way), I found that poetry came so much more easily. It still wasn’t good mind you. Just easier.
I maintain that the important qualities of good poetry – a discernible message, brevity, clear imagery – are not my strongest qualities. However, following a painful admission to family, I wrote a poem, which I still believe is my best. Really, no matter what you think of this one, feel confident in my assertion that I plateaued and don’t ask for anymore.
If I were to say it would I yell it
out loud from the top of a hill
letting it bounce amongst the trees
and hit the ears of whoever got in its way?
Or would I whisper it quietly,
so only those closest could hear,
drawing in their heads to absorb
every word and feeling?
Would I speak plainly in words
so simple, so concise –
laying out the truth like a bridge
between me and the rest?
Or would I enigmatize it;
lay a stone here and another there
while the rapids of emotion and stoicism
smooth them into a treacherous path?
Or would I sit quietly
and look into your eyes
hear you say what I cannot and nod,
confirming what you already know.