When I retired with the intention of doing what I call serious writing, I started slowly by taking an online children’s literature course. Although none of my writing assignments ended up in Brute Heart, I moved from playing with children’s stories to self-publishing my first novel.
To hone my skills and feel more like a writer, I joined Central Oregon Writer’s Guild. This led me to a critique group that gave advice as I slogged through the research and writing that went into my second novel, Never Done. Two members of my critique group were poets who shared their work every other week. I learned a lot from them as I read what they wrote and offered suggestions, tentative ones, to be sure. I grew a bit bolder and wrote a few poems of my own which they graciously critiqued. I wrote about whatever came to mind, some poems celebrating nature, others whimsical. I also read Sylvia Plath, Mary Oliver, Edna St. Vincent Millay, which gave me a greater appreciation for the genre.
Due to job changes and members moving out of town, after five years, the group disbanded. I kept writing. “No more novels,” I declared, as I concentrated on short stories and poems. I guess I had become a poet and didn’t know it, because as of this August (2022) 29 of my poems have been published, some in online journals, most with other poets in soft cover anthologies. I've been told my poems are easy to understand. More prose than traditional poetry, they flow freely, rarely rhyme.
Since August 21 is Poet’s Day, I decided to celebrate another poet by sharing the poem I read at my mother’s graveside service in 2016. I did not write this poem, but wish I had.
Although You're Gone
Although you're gone, I'm not alone,
And never shall I be,
For the precious memories of the bond we shared
Will never depart from me.
Our love surpassed the ups and downs
And helped us along the way,
And that same love will give me strength
To manage this loss each day.
On my mind and in my heart,
Mom, you’ll forever be,
For as much as I am a part of you,
You are a part of me!
© Shannon Walker
P O E T R Y