Friday, October 7, 2011

Poetry as Gift

Have you ever considered giving poems as gifts?  If you are not a poet, and have no desire to begin as one, a book of poems is a lovely tribute not only to the recipient, but to the poet!  If you are a poet yourself, you perhaps need no convincing ...

When I left Alaska in 1995, driving more slowly the further south I got, and starting to cry when approaching the Yukon border (I once thought I'd live in Alaska forever), I left behind a poem to my dear friend, titled "Goodbye Shelly."  She later told me she always hoped someone would write a poem for her.  When the poem was published in Seattle's "Bellowing Ark," I sent her a copy.

When my dad celebrated his 90th birthday, I wrote a poem for him.  This was a particularly interesting challenge, as Dad came from the old school that taught heavy end-rhymes as essential to poetry.  I wrote for him a poem in couplets with line ends rhyming so hard you would think 100-pound barbells were hitting the floor.  He loved it, and said "I knew you could do it!"  Dad died last Valentine's Day at age 91; he had told me on his 90th, when receiving my poem, "I will treasure this forever."

Now it is my mother's turn.  She will be 90 on October 11, and I have written a poem for her that is very different from Dad's -- no heavy end rhymes, only internal and half-rhymes.

What is your experience with poetry as gifts?  I'd love to hear ...

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