Meanderings of the mind: Poetry on a quiet Saturday

(This post brought to you by scheduled blogger.)

Build me a sandcastle
strong, sturdy and full of light.
Build me a sandcastle
hollow, empty and alone in the night.
Build me a sandcastle
from your imagination.
At the end of time
will it be that it matches mine?

Poetry is such a personal choice.  Everyone likes something different.  It can be a simple poem or something complex.  Something that moves the reader or reminds them of a long lost experience.  During college in my literature class we were asked to write a ‘hidden’ poem where we did not reveal what it is we wrote about within the poem.  I remember being nervous about this.  How could I write a poem but not say what I was writing about?  I sat after work and wrote my piece over and over trying to put the best I had inside down on the paper.  The exercise turned out to be very good for me.  I wrote a beautiful little poem, at least to my mind, and when my professor read it out loud the class had to guess at the hidden item we wrote about.
I sat nervously because surely I was blushing crimson at the words they discussed, my words.  I had chosen not to write about something trivial or unimportant.  I wrote about something painful and deeply personal so what they said had significant meaning to me.  The poem was well received and in the end I admitted to having written it.  I am sure the poem itself is buried amongst papers somewhere in a storage container and I’ll come across it again one day.  I wish I could remember some of what I had written.  The subject I remember was a white dress.

I love poetry.  Several poems in particular I have always loved.  They inspire me to think, to draw on inspiration for my own writing here and elsewhere.  The poem below has been a favorite since I read it in college.

Ask Me by William Stafford

Some time when the river is ice ask me
mistakes I have made.  Ask me whether
what I have done is my life.  Others
have come in their slow way into
my thought, and some have tried to help
or to hurt: ask me what difference
their strongest love or hate has made.

I will listen to what you say.
You and I can turn and look
at the silent river and wait.  We know
the current is there, hidden; and there
are comings and goings from miles away
that hold the stillness exactly before us.
What the river says, that is what I say.

Do we openly discuss our mistakes and recognize them for what they are?  Have we acknowledged those who have hurt or helped us?  We can know the current is there inside us even when no one can see it.  It lays hidden inside us waiting to burst forth and overrun the banks of the river.  Do you have an inner dam or a simple leak inside?

On the wall in a classroom in middle school was another interesting poem I remember reading over and over and searching out the meanings inside of the words especially in the last three lines.
 
The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Have you walked the road less traveled in life?  I could say that I have and have not.  I have not always done what was expected of me.  And in many ways I have.  I did not chose that less traveled path.  The reasons are mine alone to know.  What would you say looking back five or ten years from now? Would your answer have changed?  What have you read that changed your life?
I leave you with a fun little ditty I thought up while waiting for my son to come out of school last week.

I sit. I wait.
I know that eventually I will see you.  I never know how soon or when 
but hope never leaves me.  The silver surface shines 
and the suns reflection blinds me as it bounces to my eyes.
I look again and still I don’t see you.
Where have you gone my dear?
When are you to return?
Again, I sit.  I wait.
Is that…?
Yes, it is.  The red blinking light.
You’ve returned at last.
(Can you guess what the last one was about?)

5 thoughts on “Meanderings of the mind: Poetry on a quiet Saturday

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