Updated: Feb 7
It was nearly 40 years ago when I scrawled that first little acrostic poem along the side of my Weekly Reader. I was in 6th grade and I had just raised my hand to answer the teacher's question, and my answer, as usual, was met with shaming jeers from my classmates. I tuned out the rest of the lesson, preoccupied with scribbling bold, block letters down the side of my Weekly Reader: REALITY. Being mocked was my lot in life. It's the way it had always been; and the way it always would be.
I turned the "R" into a sentence: Roses are not always red. "You're no rose!" the enemy in my head taunted. I scribbled out "red" and wrote "read." Maybe I was a rose--somewhere deep down inside--and people were all just misreading me. I continued to fill in the blanks, turning each of the letters into a sentence until I had a poem.
Roses are not always read;
Even beauty has thorns in its bed.
Always look at every side--
Look in deeper, see the pride--
In your heart, you'll find the key, Try to change it, you will see... You cannot change reality.
In other words, a rose by any other name was never going to be a rose--it was going to be a dandelion--that weed people pay good money to pluck up and rid themselves of. It was a dire conclusion, but I left school that day full of joy, because having been able to express my feelings in writing had been cathartic. A journey of healing began that day.
Two of my books: Harps Unhung and The Weary Wayfarer are works of poetry. They are quite different from everything else that I write. Much of what I write exposes all that is ugly in this world--the deeds of the Adversary and the coming great deception. My poetry is a way of preaching to my own soul and reminding myself that beauty still exists--and will one day prevail.