An evening of Myth and Poetry
February 1, 2017 in Trinidad, CO
©2016 Annette Meserve
Do It, Do It Now
My mother-in-law, Anne, is ninety-two years old. As the keeper of the memories, she's something of a celebrity in our area, an area that is steeped in its history and tradition. Years ago, she wrote a small book giving brief accounts of the families that settled our valley, telling their stories, printing their pictures.
Lately, she’s been talking about writing again, about giving a more personal account of the last century on this land. But she doesn’t get to it. She’s tired, as you would imagine a person of her age might be, and the stories are so big; there’s so much writing to do.
Chances are that she’ll leave us, taking her stories with her, perpetuating the disconnect between generations.
And this relates to poetry how?
Well, I discovered writing poems quite by accident. A good friend, a fellow writer, gave me a gift that he’d made for me. It was a touching, very personal gift and I wanted to respond in kind. Not being all that good at shopping, at finding ‘just the right thing’ in a store, I decided that I would try my hand at poetry. He and I live a distance from each other and our time together is limited so I thought that ‘just the right thing’ would be a poem a day for a week, emailed right into his computer every morning.
I’ve been writing them ever since. Each is about whatever strikes my thoughts when I sit down at the keyboard and, as I’ve watched them grow, I’ve begun to recognize a larger picture emerging, a description of my life told in snapshots.
Now the practice has become a bit of a mission. I don’t know if, sometime in the murky future, there will be anyone interested in an account of this time and these people in this valley, of my walk on the planet, but I’m willing to bet Anne wouldn’t have thought so either. So I write a poem every day and in this way, I capture my stories as they are happening, saving myself from a huge writing project in the future, if I make it as near the century mark as she has.
I write mostly about inconsequential things because it is in the inconsequential parts of our lives that the true story is told. Poetry can do this better than anything else.
Many of the poems that I’ve written have become a book, Life at the Far End. The book isn’t part of my current anthropological mission, I’ve given up evangelizing, abandoned the practice of bringing _________________(insert current soapbox here) to the natives. This book is simply a sharing of the things I see and think and feel in case anyone else sees and thinks and feels things this way too. It’s one way to share our humanity.