Being Poetic

Poets might make strange bedfellows, although, right offhand I cannot recall ever getting in bed with one. I must confess that I feel very awkward in the company of folks who call themselves “poets.” In my youth I was once listed for some two years on the masthead of The Cub, school newspaper at the University of Detroit High school as “Staff Poet.” A title I took most lightly and everyone else concerned took it lighter yet. Although the word “poet” was contained in that title I never did anything to qualify myself for such a designation, although I did develop a fondness for a poet named Joyce Kilmer who was a sergeant in the Fighting 69th Regiment in World War I and was killed in action. He had a sometimes gentle touch with words and was already a famous poet for his poem titled “Trees” before he enlisted in the Army. If anyone asked me what I was in the past forty years I would answer, “A professional speaker and an author.” I might add “Humorist” or “Motivational Humorist” if pressed but I would never say, “Poet.” If pressed today after several months of deep reflection while working on a “pictorial autobiography” I might list a dozen professions or specialties before I would, if ever, get around to the term, “Poet.” If you, the reader, were somehow sentenced to the horrid penance of reading all of my works including a couple of hundred poems and then ordered to list in the order of tolerable endeavors, I am certain you would never mention “poetry.”

And so, as I examined my sparse list of engagements pending I found the listing, “Poet’s reading” I started the chore of weeding through my sad collection of weeds that I have written in the past seventy-two years I spotted just three or four that I am proud of and then recalled that I have already done those before with this group. I am on that program because I volunteered and I checked the section “Open Mike.” Right under that listing was, “Able to handle heavy tables.” and under that, “Clean up team.”

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