Yesterday I read one of my poems at church. It was the one written for “The Families at the Dump”, entitled Hope is a Bumpy Road. I read it because there was a bake sale being held that day at the church as a fundraiser for this cause, and I hoped it would help draw attention so it would be successful in raising all the money needed to send these kids to school for another year.
We were very successful! Everything in the bake sale sold out, and we made about $100.00 more than our goal! That extra money will be saved towards next year’s school expenses for the same kids.
I was somewhat confused as I read the poem, because everyone in the audience had such a blank look on their face that I could not tell whether they were moved at all, or merely bored. But at least half a dozen people approached me afterwards and gave me hugs, saying the poem was very moving as well as me having a particularly good way of speaking/delivery. That made me feel much better. I guess people just don’t express much on their faces during church, when they feel their heartstrings tugged.
One friend told me she thought I should make a book of poetry. I humbly deferred, saying I don’t really have that many poems, and surely they aren’t really all that good. She said I should WRITE more poems if I thought that were the case, because the few poems of mine she’s aware of are both VERY good. Well, what can a modest person say to that?
So I thought about it. Of course I know NOBODY ever buys books of poetry. I’ve always dreamed of being an author, but I know full well I can’t write stories because I have no concept of how to make a plot. But my friend assured me that although she can write stories she thought my ability to write poems with particularly good rhythm and rhyme was a special gift. She can’t do that. We both guessed that maybe it uses different parts of the brain to do these different tasks well. She associated my good poetry skills with my good singing skills, where I show a natural ability to keep excellent time and stay on pitch, which apparently are also somewhat rare skills.
So I kept thinking. I now realize I should respect this ability of mine, and not discount it just because it seems easy to me, or because I assume it wouldn’t be a best-seller.
Then a new thought occurred to me. After I make this collection I might ask children or other members of my congregation to make illustrations for it. This would be especially appropriate if the poems I choose are ones about subjects my church regularly thinks about or causes we support. And people in my church would buy it! Especially if they or someone they love contributed an illustration. This would make an excellent fundraiser for my church!
So now I’m very excited to have a new project. I have a focus on WHY I would write the poems. That’s a big help to me, since writing poetry, though fun, has always seemed rather self-indulgent before. Writing just to show off that I can write seems egotistical. But writing to throw a light onto a subject that people care about is not only generous, it is necessary!
So that’s my plan. I’m going to review the poems I’ve written already to see if any of them may apply to this new goal. Then I’m going to start thinking about new topics and new forms to attempt, to compile a collection of however many poems it takes to feel like it’s “enough”. I honestly have no idea how many that will end up needing to be.
I can tell already that this will be a great project for me, and for my church! I’m so thrilled to be involved in a meaningful endeavor again. 2 months ago