Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This Will Come as No Surprise

This will come as absolutely no surprise to my kids. Mom is waxing poetic. This time, in chalk.

I follow John Piper (who, besides preaching, loves and writes poetry), on Twitter, and he alerted me to the fact that April is National Poetry month.  When I jumped over to their website to see what was happening, I saw "30 Ways to Celebrate." I'm all about celebrating, so I clicked there. One of the suggestions was to Put a poem on the pavement. At first glance, I thought that sounded lame. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. My next thought had to do with how much of a nerd I really am - only nerds want to go around writing poems on sidewalks.

The only pavement/concrete areas I really have connection to or ownership of are the ones at our home or at Lou's office.  Obviously, there's more traffic at a business and if I'm going to take the time to pen poetry on sidewalks, I want it to be seen. So, off to Bolivar Family Care Center Mary Grace and I go.

Prior to chalking, I checked in with our office manager. His acknowledgment (humoring) of my idea concluded with the joking comment, "Just nothing questionable!" Hahahaha...

"Oh! (hahahaha), Of course not! One of the ones I'm copying is "Trees." You know - one of  the most famous poems ever!" And with that reply, out the door I went.

Mary Grace was waiting for me with our poem book and chalk. I picked out a sidewalk that was very visible to people as they walked in the clinic, and opened our book to "Trees," by Joyce Kilmer. (Joyce, fyi, was not a woman. Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) was an American writer, deeply religious, and died a hero's death at WWI's  2nd Battle of the Marne.)

I was finishing writing those famous first two lines of his poem,

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree

when I glanced at the third and fourth lines:

A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed 
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;

Oh, good grief. I had forgotten about those lines. I love those lines - so beautiful. But I could also hear our manager's "joking" words. I wondered if that little example of  personification was a little too much for the sidewalk at BFCC...Now what to do? To ensure that I wouldn't be banned from future chalking adventures, I decided to leave them out. Sidewalk poetic license?  I had to make it right here, though. It's just not the same without that verse.

Mary Grace added the tree to our creation. With that, we were ready for poem #2.

"The Sun," by John Drinkwater was slated for the other sidewalk. I had never read this one before. I was glad to see the sun out that day so I found a poem about just that. It was short and fun.  As I was beginning to write this one, a man walked by and said, "My 5 year old likes to do that too."

Oh, Hahahaha...Lots of laughter today. And, as I was writing "The Sun," some friends came out of the clinic and of course, wondered what we were doing. We had a great time visiting with them. They were very supportive our our little poem party.
John and Pat Bayer and Mary Grace
Then, back to our work. This one took no time for me to write, and Mary Grace embellished it appropriately.

See that last line?   "I'm happy!"  That's exactly how Mary Grace and I felt as we stood there surveying our work.  We hope that our unexpected brush of poetry on these sidewalks brought a smile to some faces, and joy to some hearts.


  1. My classes just got through a quick unit over poetry/poetic devices. Probably my favorite part of the year; never have enough time to devote to it. If you ever want to come put good poems all over the Love family driveway, I'd be fine w/ it.

  2. Andy,you never know where or when I'll strike.