All my life I have been a novel reader, a consumer of novels of all types, and I always thought I would write fiction. But I never could find an appropriate voice. Then, one day in December 1994, I put pen to paper and out came a poem! I was astounded. I had found my voice and she was a poet.
Below is my very first poem. Just below that is one of my latest poems. And below that will be a link to me reading some of my poetry on YouTube. Enjoy.
My first poem:
My husband and I had built a beach house on the Florida Panhandle. All winter in Iowa we had received photos of the construction going on, and finally, in the spring of 1994, we travelled down there from Iowa in order to furnish and outfit the house. We had only a picnic cooler and some milk and cereal for food, and a car full of odds and ends from home, and we started buying (mostly used) appliances and furniture. We borrowed some mattresses from some friends and slept the night. Without a table or chairs, we ate our first breakfast on the top step of our stairway and looked out over our new barren front yard. We had a lot of work ahead of us, but we were very happy. The house fulfilled something deep inside of me and I remember hugging the 8 foot pilings upon which our house was built. Hello, house, I thought. I love you. I am so happy to meet you!
Here is my first poem:
Breakfast in Seagrove
We sit on our deck in Seagrove Beach
and eat breakfast with the rising sun.
The warm spring light shines on our granola
and charms us out of our robes and slippers.
We feast on the blue sky, long needles of the slash pine,
taste the salty air, hear the hum of the rumbling surf.
We savor the glow on each other's faces, radiant
from meditation and lit by love.
Happiness alone stops Time, and makes him pause.
He smiles at our joy, and forgets to tilt
the hourglass and hurry the rushing sands.
He marks the moment with streamers of taste and touch.
We are awake to the present and awake to each other.
Only Timelessness can stop time, halt the tumbling seas,
And give the flavor of eternity to a morning meal.
We breakfast in the hands of God and live forever.
(Below, under Videos, you'll see a YouTube video which includes a reading of Breakfast in Seagrove)
Here is a draft of one of my latest poems. Lethe, as you may know, is the classical Greek word for oblivion or forgetfulness. Lethe is also the name of the Greek spirit of forgetfulness. She was the goddess or devata of the River Lethe, one of the five rivers of Hades, the land of the dead. All those who drank from her waters experienced complete forgetfulness. I wrote this in the middle of a long meditation course, where past memories and emotions were being cleansed from my psyche.
I am not ready
But I wouldn't mind
slipping into Lethe's waters,
Letting the current massage my heart,
gently pummeling it,
bubbling against it,
until the grief I carry
and washed away;
Feeling the waters pour through my mind,
cleansing away old angers,
wearing down the thorns,
stilling the critical voice,
and freeing me
to love and give;
Opening my soul to the current,
streaming past old lives and doubts,
erasing cries and complaints,
allowing me to be
without their weight.
Let me climb the far bank,
forgetting how once I lived
and whom I hurt,
without the pain
Give me joy unending.
A new start.
At the Literature Reunion at MUM in September 2013, I read a few of my poems. I began with a talk about my book, The Flow of Consciousness, and then read some of my own stuff. For more about the book, see that page. The poetry reading section begins about 37 minutes into the video (slide the bubble over that you will see if you mouse over the bottom of the screen). It lasts about 20 minutes.
YouTube video: Rhoda OJ Poetry