Poetry has been important to me from a very young age. I remember Mom reading Dr. Suess books and singing lullabies as we’d drift off to dream. As a child poetry helped me to remember. I memorized Dr. Suess thanks to the catchy rhythm and rhyme. Poetry was fun. I wanted to become a poet. One of my first claims to fame was the poem I wrote soon after my mother remarried. She married a farmer, Greg, and I was out visiting my new Grandmother, Mary, when I jotted this down.
Farmers Farmers always working
Never stop for pie
And if they stop and have some pie
Your luck is really high
Dawn Bowmaster, Age 6
I was six, and if it rhymed it was a poem in my mind. I think I have come a long way since and my feelings concerning poetry have changed with time. I no longer want to be a poet. I no longer dwell on the rhyme. I no longer see poetry as all fun and games. For me, poetry has evolved into an outlet for expression.
My form is my own. I appreciate the freedom of poetry, the ability to say just enough, but not too much. So often words are difficult to use in expressing feelings for another…so many times we use so many words that we keep stumbling on them and twisting them around. Too many words complicate a matter. In a poem there are enough words to express feelings, but the words invite growth and interpretation; you must read between the lines. For example, by mentioning “good memories” instead of specifically listing the fun times it personalizes the poem and invites the reader to fill in the blanks. By listing all details it somehow seems to lose its sincerity. It takes the poem from a personal dialogue to a more distant and general statement for all.
Writing poetry for others is a wonderful means of expression. And receiving a poem written for you is an almost indescribable feeling. For high school graduation I received this poem.
by Kerry Doetker, Age 18
That’s what you are to me
I may forget to tell you that sometimes
When I’m too busy with life,
I know that’s no excuse, but it
Happens to all of us.
There are so many words that could possibly
Tell you how special you are to me.
We’ve had so many good times
It’s going to be hard to leave them behind.
I’ll never forget them and I hope
We can make many more.
Time has gone so fast it seems we haven’t
Done half the things we planned.
No matter where our lives may lead
You’ll always be very dear to me.
No matter what the distance
I’ll always be thinking of you
We are such close friends
Nothing could ever come between us.
That’s what you are to me
Friends Forever, Kerry
The majority of the poems I write are not for anyone. The poetry helps me think through situations and sort out my thoughts.
by Dawn Bowmaster, Age 18
I don’t want to say anything I’ll regret
I don’t want to feel like I’m being rude
I want to take your feelings into consideration and not make things hard on you
I don’t want to let you know how much you’re hurting me
I want to cry at so many things you say, but wait until I’m alone
I guess I know what you want – and will give that to you
Thinking of how you feel
Have you ever done the same?
You’ve crushed me more than once
Please...just say nothing…
Silence is better than the bullets that fly from your mouth
I love to use poetry as a motivator. I have files and files and tons of books of poetry that have guided me through life. It is always gratifying when you find the perfect words to say in a poem. Not all of the inspiration (or “think poems” as I like to call them) poetry I read is from books. I have written a few myself reflecting my values, beliefs and views on a variety of topics. I leave you with a question.
EXISTING vs. LIVING
by Dawn Bowmaster, Age 14
Have you ever leant an ear
To one no one would listen to?
Made someone feel worthwhile
As their world came crashing down?
Simply said a kind word?
“Hi” is one of the best!
Stood beside a true friend
Instead of following the rest.
Have you looked for the best in others?
Not being too quick to judge?
Locked up with you
There are many gifts to give
Are you satisfied with existing…
Or do you want to live??
What poem is your favorite and carries special meaning for you? Share in the comments below or email me.
I can't wait to hear about your favorite poem.