Some say the words call to them. Others say they sit down, pick up a pen, and the words just flow.
That hasn’t been my experience.
I write poetry because I have something to say. I write poetry because it is the best way to express those feelings that don’t want to be shared. I write poetry because the joy I experience while writing it, and the satisfaction once I finish, is a reward like no other.
At a certain age, you get used to saying, “I can’t do it” and “It’s too hard”. The word “Limitless” turns to “Limited”, and that grand sky everyone says is within reach suddenly becomes untouchable. You can’t. I can’t. We can’t. No one can, because there’s no point in trying; failure is too big of a risk, criticism too big of an embarrassment. Stay within your box, and don’t come out. Don’t express. Don’t reveal. Don’t show.
But someone once told me to pick up a pen.
Someone once told me to write a poem.
Just one word.
So I wrote. I picked up the pen, forcing my blank mind to dump raw emotions onto blank paper. Black word. Shiver. Black word. Sprout. Black word. Growth. Despite my misgivings, I read those words aloud.
And now I am a poet.
I am no Frost, Dickinson, Wordsworth, Keats, or Cummings.
And I don’t need to be.
Because I am a poet with my own name. I am a poet with my own poems. I am a poet because – no matter what the world roars at me – deep within my G-d given soul, I know it. I write poems that say what I want to say, poems that express things only I can express.
Poetry doesn’t unlock that box that traps emotions inside. It shatters it, smashing it like a Narcissistic mirror that’s intent on only showing YOU, and no one else. Forget self-pity. There’s a world around you! A world where, even if you try your best and don’t succeed, you’ve gained in a different way. A world in which music, dance, art, and writing are alive. We live in a world that allows for all types, just as poetry makes way for the unique. Haiku, Free Verse, Sonnets, Epics – the possibilities are endless. With poetry, the word “Limitless” can again be stretched across the sky. You can say whatever you want to say without worry of what other people think.
Because no one can say that what you feel is wrong.
And no one can say you can’t do anything when you have a pen and paper sitting before you.
And no one can say you aren’t a poet, because that just means they’ve tried long before and have given up along the way. It’s too easy to give up, too easy to give in to those dark feelings swirling inside. As Will Rogers so eloquently put, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
So a poet perseveres. A poet searches for that right word, that right sound, that right feeling.
And a poet doesn’t use the word “Can’t.”
Because we poets hold the key to burst open that dusty old box of despair and self-pity and I can’t dos.
We hold the pen that changes lives.
We are Poets that Do.