To the Poets

I am not sure what makes someone a poet. I was listening to some music from younger days yesterday and a niggling thought slowly and insistently overtook me. Do I have a poet’s heart and brain? I mean, I can be such a sap sometimes.

I know I am woefully deficient in the tech category. I am obtuse. When challenged I ask my grands to help me out. Sad. And Burnadette takes care of money details. We set our budget and she delivers dollars to envelopes and I spend what is in MY envelopes. It has worked very well for us.

I changed my own oil once decades ago but determined this was a gift for others – not me. Sure, I can cut down a tree, but I have to be careful to think it through to spare life and limb – including my own. This is weird because I literally have worked with my hands since I was 17 years old, and in many ways I am quite handy. With the right things, of course.

Is everyone a sentimentalist like I am? I really would like to know. I can fixate on a memory of a person, event, or a song and charge off to the memory races. And these are not merely facts or replays of events, I can bring back decades old feelings just like they were yesterday. To top it off, when I connect emotionally, I become an emotional sap. I retrieve details long buried. I pray for people who may no longer even be living and remember things anyone else would probably not be inclined to have a clue.

What are your triggers for memories? Do you process poetically and emotionally like me? What do you do with those memories? I have had my share of ups and downs and I seem to be able to recall both the bitter and the sweet. And I find myself on almost a daily basis brought to tears – not of loss or pain – but of gratefulness. For people I have known. For music that still moves me. For that one-in- a-hundred painting capturing some hidden part of my soul. For a cloud show, a rainbow, or a starry night.

Now if you are thinking this is because I have lived a charmed, carefree life – you would be wrong. Imperfection and personal turbulence have been assaulting companions throughout many of the seasons of my life. Perhaps I should give God more credit than I do. When He invaded my life in my early twenties I had no idea what it would look like. But now I do. I know that gathering and losing are both parts of life. I know that humans have no answers for finding ultimate peace. I have learned that being eclipses doing. Perhaps it has all be worth it. Yes, I believe it has.

This week I will be joining some of you once again in the dance of the poets. Not the word-smith kind, but the heart-smith poets. Those who gather memories and reflect them into a symphony of thanksgiving. To me this is the ultimate poetry. Even though I still enjoy Simon and Garfunkel and the Moody Blues. Just saying.

for Dave & Burnadette

An Old Friends song-poem from my twenties (short but deep)

Old friends
The kind you think about, every now and then.
The kind who come around
And they don’t know why you’ve changed.
“Boy this sounds so strange, comin’ from you.”

Just another part of our human fantasy.
Just another thing, to bring us to our knees.
Help us Jesus please, O we don’t know.
You’ve got to show us the road

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