pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

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The difference between my life and yours
Is not that I've done different things,
Or known different people.
Life experiences weave themselves
Into perpetual patterns.
My fears are no less real than yours,
My joys are no more joyful;
My hurts are no more painful;
My problems no more severe.
The difference is
I put my accent marks
In different places.

Composed in Ottumwa during a summer writing seminar -- an intense class held all day for a week or two, on the Indian Hills campus, which still housed aging monks and priests.

We were to try a poem, which is NOT my milieu. Several of us were in the library as we wrote away, and I was composing clear across the page, in prose.

"I can't write poetry!" I disclaimed, exasperated.

Mary, a kindergarten teacher, and the best poet in the class, was seated across from me, her lines flowing freely from her pen.

"Let me see," she said, spearing the top of my sheet with one long, perfectly shaped and polished fingernail, swiveling the paper toward her.

"Oh, this IS a poem. You just forgot the line breaks." With that, she marked seemingly random vertical lines across my paragraph. Turning the page over, I recopied, and voila, it really WAS a poem. Today, nearly thirty years later, out pops another one. I recognized it, this time, and divided it up all by myself... Better late than never, as the saying goes.

Sister poem:

Self URL for editing:
Tags: poem
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