Everyday Poets

I have learned a whole lot of things from my 90 year old friend Bob.   He is a man with a long resume that includes technician, machinist, carpenter, rifleman, ball turret gunner, flight engineer, wood worker, gardener, home builder, electrician, not to mention husband, father, scout leader, and church member.  But you could interview him for hours and the word poet would never come up. In fact, what he’d tell you is that as a child he wasn’t a particularly good student and never found too much pleasure in reading.

So he thinks I’m crazy when I tell him he’s also a poet.    But he is!  From time to time, he just naturally speaks in poetry.  I think we all do, though our poems mostly go unrecognized.  In order for the poem to really work, somebody has to listen for it.  Catch it maybe.   If you are alert, you’ll hear poems happening every day, all around you.  The best ones appear spur of the moment, when  something dislodges the heart— not  a complete story, but just  an image, a piece of something stored in muscle memory,  maybe carrying its own  cadence.    P1014844

Here’s an example of how this worked with my friend a while ago:  He was showing me one of his grandmother’s quilts.  He said when he was a kid, he used to thread the needles for her.  He said she was really good at sewing, and I could see, as a craftsmanhimself,  he appreciated her skill.  But that wasn’t where the poetry lived.  No, the poetry lived in how it felt  back in 1930 or so,to  be a boy finally freed from the dreaded classroom and heading across town, home.

They were pouring slag at the Steel

I was coming home from school.


My grandmother was in the front window.

I could see her in that light.



That’s the sort of little poems that we carry around.   They make for good sharing.   And maybe good enough paintings too.  Thanks to Bob, and to all of us Every Day Poets. 


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