I have always loved poetry, a gift from my mother and my sixth grade teacher, who had her class memorize many poems during the last few minutes of each school day. What a joy that was, especially for those of us who loved the word pictures these poems created.
In my mother’s day, poems were still published in the daily newspaper we subscribed to, and she would carefully cut them out and paste them in a scrapbook. If I was careful, she would let me read her “scrapbook,” and I was fascinated by the stories told in poetry form. I still have this book, although the pages are rather worn with time.
I have wondered why poetry is important to me, and I believe it is the “word pictures” they create in my heart and mind as I read them. Or, perhaps it is the unusual twist of language the poet uses to express what is often an ordinary idea in extraordinary terms.
I was not able to begin college until I was forty-nine years old, and immediately knew that I would be an English major since words, stories and poetry were the voices that were calling me. I remember my Shakespeare classes where both tragedies and humor were presented in poetic form to tantalize the senses. Shakespeare’s stories were long and complex, using words likely common in his day but challenging in ours. However, I have a much simpler taste, and that is to tell everyday stories of nature, family and events that intrigue me.
Also, long ago I began the tradition of writing an annual Christmas poem, which I include in the letter I send out every year as December approaches. I love Christmas, and as the parents of six children, along with our extended family, we always celebrated with enthusiasm.
I also enjoy the many parables recorded in the New Testament which make a point about some issue of life. Many of these stories have been set to music and are the hymns we’ve sung for years. A few of the poems in this book also have a melody, although that is not included. After all, hymns are simply poems set to music!
I hope the contents of this book will speak to your heart and remind you of events in your own life. Perhaps they will share a word of love and encouragement to make you smile.
– Leona Nichols