Monday, October 12, 2009

101) my middle school poems

the literary life 10/12/09

So this weekend I got it in my head that I wanted to go back and read my middle school journals. What is it about the preteen years that makes them so special and unique? You see, back in middle school, I had an amazing English teacher named Ms. Kronstadt who required us to keep a notebook. In the notebook we'd respond to various questions on life, our future, and politics. However, we also had to complete several entries of our own choice at home, and I, for the first time in my life, turned to poetry.

That's right. Middle school, if I think back, was the start of my poet "career." The funny thing is that I didn't have to write poems. I could do what I wanted in my notebook. But at 12, I gravitated again and again to emotions expressed in line breaks. My first poems were "formal." I liked to rhyme.

I've got dozens of journals and notebooks that I've filled over the years with poems and nonsense. But this middle school journal was the gateway journal, the one that established the habit to write. I'm so glad I kept it. It was fun to flip through it this weekend. Looking back, I saw that I'd written poems on topics like "World War Three", the early morning dew, friendship, heirlooms, and memories. I wish I could step back into my middle school mind and figure out what propelled me to tinker with verse. It's a mystery to me really. But given my interest in poetry as an adult, it's not such a big surprise after all. More than anything, there's something comforting about seeing my young poems in the notebook. Like I had a kind of faith (a faith I lost somewhere along the way and tapped into again these past few years). Anyway, I'll share one of my middle school poems here below, just for fun:

BALLERINA GIRL

So gracefully she turns
So gracefully she dances.
She's a natural
With her bewitching prances.
Her pink tights
and matching top.
The array of ruffles
that never stop.
She points her toes
and performs her shows.
With lovely steps,
she comes and goes.

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