I thought I had wavy hair
Until I shaved. Instead,
I find that I have straight hair.
And a very wavy head.
I attended the Sanibel Writer’s Conference in 2012, not so much because I see myself as a writer, but because I wanted to learn about blogging. Workshops on topics such as character development, memoir, and writing for children filled my days at the conference. Tim O’Brien, the author of The Things They Carried and Susan Orlean, a journalist and author of the Orchid Thief entertained us during evening presentations. And the sessions on blogging provided just what I needed to get Mom’s Monday Memo up and running the week I returned from the conference.
However, the poetry session I attended remains the most memorable. Shortly after entering the room, I realized this was going to be embarrassing. As a way to introduce ourselves, the leader of the session suggested that each of us tell our name, where we’re from, and then share a poem we’ve written or recite a poem we love.
I was in trouble. I do not write poetry. In fact, as my mind raced trying to think of a poem I could recite, the only thing that came to mind was the poem Wavy Hair by Shel Silverstein.
Should I leave? Should I recite Wavy Hair? I did neither. Instead, I told the truth and explained that not only am I not a poet, I couldn’t even recite a poem, and in fact, found myself in a poetry session because I just felt like this was where I was supposed to be. Maybe to enjoy the poetry of others, maybe to be more open to a type of writing I find intimidating, maybe to challenge myself to try something new. The facilitator seemed a little surprised by my response, but welcomed me.
I haven’t memorized another poem, but think it’s time I did so. I’m leaning toward Trees, by Joyce Kilmer, a good, short classic poem and one that I memorized and recited in my seventh grade English class.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose lovely mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
So, if asked to recite a poem, which would you choose?