September 15, 2012

Rhymes and Reasons

The Heart of a Poet

It seems my whole life, that I have been both fascinated by and in love with the written word, and even from a very young age, I enjoyed reading and writing poetry. There is something in the measured cadence and meter of a good poem, that carries us along on a journey, and if we allow the words to paint their pictures in our minds, we just might find ourselves better for the experience of having read them.

I wrote my first poem at about the age of 6, and I not only remember the poem, I actually had the paper I wrote it on saved for many, many years. Of course at 6, I also illustrated my poem, and though it was written with the inexperienced hand of youth, I think it's still alright. Here is that epic first step toward a lifetime of composing rhymes:

Apple Tree
Apple tree, Apple tree
How do you grow?
You start as a seed,
Then grow big as can be,
Then I can say,
Okay, Keats I wasn't ... but the meter is pretty good, and the word-picture is there, if a bit green.

Should Poems Rhyme?

To me, that's like asking if stories should have happy endings. Most do, some don't, but that isn't what makes them good or bad ... the true test is if they move you emotionally in some way. Most of the poetry I have written in my life is of the standard a-b-a-b format, but not all of it. More often than not my poems are a bit humorous. I blame this on the first author whose poems I remember reading and becoming enchanted with - the one and only Lewis Carrol. I mean,

'Twas brillig and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe,
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

has got to be one of the greatest opening verses ever recorded on paper.  Does it make sense? No, but it rhymes, it is metered, and it just makes you want to know more. I wanted to see those toves, and find out why they were slithy, and if they only gimbled when it was brillig, and what made those poor mome raths do their outgrabing ... Needless to say I have read The Jabberwock many, many times, and I still enjoy it as much as I did as a child.

Painting Pictures With Words

That is, for me, the whole purpose of poetry. I learned to read very young, and like all avid readers, I find the best stories are those that stop becoming words on paper, and become mental movies. The same is true of poems - my favorites are those that create a rich image or emotional flavor within your mind.

I'd like to share some of my poetry with you, but I am well aware that some people just don't care for poems, so rather than clog up this post with them, I have created links to them. If you see one that you think you might like to check out, just click the image, and it will open in a new tab or page.

The first is a poem called A Grandpa's Love, and is dedicated to my grandpa, Audy McDaniel. He has been gone for many years, but his memory and lessons live on in me, and this poem, written shortly after my grandson passed, is part of the reason I started this blog.

A Grandpa's Love

Here are a couple of Haiku poems that I created ... Haiku, for those who do not know, has a rigid 5-7-5 syllable structure, without rhyme ... it's all about the meter and the image, and in these cases, the story:

Eternal Love
Far From Home

Here are a pair of more traditional poems. The both were written to commemorate special events in my life; one to celebrate our 20th anniversary (or 10th, depending on how you look at it), and the other to share my joy at finding out that we had a fifth baby on the way.

A New Life

10 Years Ago ...

Finally, this last poem is one that I wrote just for my wife. It is a bit longer than the others and is more of an ode to my special princess ... the woman I love and my best friend. I truly am a romantic old fart, and this dramatic and slightly racy bit of poetic story-telling is one of my favorites.


It Runs In The Family

All of my kids are also poets at heart, and I'll share some of their work with you all in another post. For now, I hope that you have enjoyed this brief journey into the fantasy land that lives in my soul, and is brought to you all the way,

From Grandpa's Heart ...