When I was in the tenth grade, Mrs. Therber was my English teacher. Mrs. Therber was a tall, lean woman with dark hair and she loved to travel. She told us of her travels to Stonehedge and Paris. And Mrs. Therber loved poetry. I did not. By the time I reached her class, I’d written almost a hundred stories but they were full-length novels or children’s stories. In all those piles of paper, not a single poem existed. Meter and rhyme… I was convinced I could not write poetry. The differences between all the meters and how you could call verses that didn’t even rhyme poetry confuses me to this day, if you want the truth: in my head, if it doesn’t rhyme, it’s prose, not poetry. But one day, Mrs. Therber gave an interesting assignment: we were to write a poem, about anything, and we would have to read it to our fellow classmates. After class, I went up to her, very discouraged and explained, “I cannot write poetry, Mrs. Therber.” She smiled and pointed to the notebook she knew was filled wit hundreds of pages of story. “If you can write that, you can write poetry. You just have to try.” Rather than accept a 0 on an English assignment, I went home and wrote a very simple poem in which every other line rhymed. I got an A on the assignment and it made me curious: hm. I thought. Maybe all I need to do is practice this poetry thing a little. That year, I wrote about 86 poems, in addition to the books.
I found the ugly green notebook in which I wrote them tonight and re-read quite a few of them. For the most part, they are simply written and probably not something any notable poet would call worthy. However, they also contain quite a bit of emotion. And, if you read them understanding the environment I was in at the time, they reveal more about who I was as a 10th grade, terrified student trying to make sense of an impossible world. Long story short, I don’t want to lose them. Thus, the creation of this section of the blog: it is a place I trust will keep them safe. These are not now, and never will be, available for publication: that is not what I am seeking. Rather, it is just a way for me to acknowledge how much I love, miss and admire the young girl I once was for using writing as a mechanism instead of destructive coping strategies such as drugs or boys.
They have not been edited from their original versions at all and so retain the thought processes, grammar and poetic abilities of a 10th grade writer. That aside, I hope you enjoy these offerings and share any feedback you have from them!
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