Much is happening this week, not just in our little East Central Indiana world. We viewed the Olympic opening ceremonies yesterday evening, but in the morning, I heard a fascinating report on the radio. I have never had any aspirations regarding personal Olympic competition, but if one of the ancient Greek traditions were still a sport, I would have a chance, a little spark of possibility. A poetry competition demonstrated the connection between body and intellect for many years, but as this competition grew more international, the language barriers made it more difficult to judge, and it was removed.
So we may no longer have an Olympic poetry final competition, but I wish to use today’s thankful thoughts to highlight the gift of poetry.
Day 26 – 5 poetic things of thanks
1. the Olympic games – this amazing gathering of athletes from all over the world may not seem to be related to poetry, but as I watch the athletes in action, I can’t help but see poetry in motion. And with this year’s games taking place in London, the landscape and culture are so poetic in and of themselves that I can see how so many great poets called Great Britain their home.
2. the English language – our language is so rich, it is a joy to have the gift of these words. It is fun to have a native language that can be adapted to different countries and different regions, taking on its own personality, giving it its own unique poetic timbre.
3. Aunt Nancy – T.R.’s aunt, the younger sister of his dad, has written poetry for years – she often includes lovely verse with cards, and I know she has some published also. For me, poetry can help bring healing of the soul, and I pray that it is helping comfort her at this time. (We love you, Aunt Nancy!)
4. Punctuation – I have been called a “punctuation geek” before, and I’ll gladly accept that title. Commas may perplex me at times, but I truly appreciate properly placed apostrophes. In fact, I’ll share here a poem I wrote about that very topic.
Apostrophes: a Teacher’s Warning
By Angie Knight
Commas, periods, colons and such,
dashes and semicolons – they all do much.
But one little punctuation mark is key
to lots of things: the apostrophe
can combine two words to make just one.
It’s something that can’t be improved or outdone.
Contractions are needed, we certainly know,
but possessive nouns can also show
that John and Jill have a new red boat:
Jill’s favorite color, John’s favorite float.
This poet’s pet peeve, though, is thoughtless abuse
of that special mark whose constant misuse
as a method to pluralize many a word
makes no good sense and can be quite absurd.
Over much time, I have come to accept
that some of these rule’s will still not be kept
but students in my class best beware of me
if they dare misuse the apostrophe.
5. the gift of writing – I don’t feel l a “real poet,” but I have come to realize that God will accept the word I use to honor Him. I’ll share her a poem I was blessed to be able to read at our community poetry festival in April.
Why I Am a Poet
By Angela Knight
Words, through the pen of a poet, create an image
as striking as Michelangelo’s ceiling fresco,
soft as Monet’s Water Lilies,
wildly swirling as Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
They sustain the soul like Mozart’s concertos,
Who am I to take words with the same intent
as Shakespeare with his sonnets,
Frost with his imagery,
Dickinson with her simple rhyme?
Or King David, whose utterings spoke of and with our God:
to Him, the ultimate Poet
who created sound, light, fragrance, language…
He whose stars transcend Van Gogh’s,
whose melodies rise light years above Mozart’s,
to whom time is beyond measure?
How could I call myself a poet,
with insufficient words and ability to offer description and praise for the Great One?
A response comes:
“I created paint, light, songs, ideas, and words.
As you find joy in the scribbles of a young child,
I delight in your pictures, music, and… poetry.”
So with wide eyes and an unsteady hand,
I lift my pen to paper.
Feeble though my words may be, I decide that I have been wrong.
I can be a poet.
He said so.