View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

He wrote a poem a day

I read about a man
who wrote a poem a day
from the day he discovered poetry
shortly after his 18th birthday
until his death
at age 67
of a heart attack

17,778 poems

Sonnets, free verse, haiku, clerihews, cinquains, ballads, odes


During his life
he published a few of his poems
usually in local and obscure periodicals (most no longer published).
He also sent poems to friends, relatives and people he admired
for birthdays, Christmas, graduations, births, weddings, or just to share,
sometimes getting polite thank yous and smiles
although his wife did save the love poems
he wrote during their courtship
storing them in the attic in a box that remained unopened for 40 years
until he died.

He wrote poems to celebrate or lament his four children’s
first steps,
first accidents, lost teeth,
school plays, team losses, proms,
marriages, children, divorces,
promotions, lost jobs,
moves to other states.

Moments that had meaning to him.
Moments that he wanted to share.
Moments that he wanted to remember.

17,778 poems

Each dated
and kept by month,
and year,
in file folders in a file cabinet in his attic office.
He often revised and reworked poems
but always kept the date they first emerged
from his fingers.

17,778 poems

The last one dated
the day before he died
of a heart attack while shaving
before he could write that day’s poem
but which may have been forming behind
the sad eyes staring in the mirror.

His wife found him
and then when cleaning out his office in the attic
looking for insurance papers
she found the poems that she had vaguely known about.
And she told a friend
who told a friend,
who told a reporter,
who did a report
that caught the attention of a small-press editor
who agreed to publish a selection of the
17,778 poems
including some from the box
that the wife had not read in 40 years
that she remembered when the editor asked
if there were more
and which still had dust on them
when he read them.

That is how
I read about the man
who wrote a poem a day
and died.

I'll buy his book.


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