Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday's Pondering: Writing Lesson by John D. Engle, Jr.

I love fireflies. Their mesmerizing iridescent glow composes epic adventures across the dark canvas of night in a mysterious language that burns my imagination. When I discovered John D. Engle, Jr.'s brilliant firefly poem  in Writers Digest, it spoke to my bard's soul. I clipped it, laminated it, and have managed not to lose it for over 20 years-- quite a feat for me. I could misplace something while it's still clutched in my hand, so says Professor X. Nevertheless, Mr's Engle's masterpiece has never been far from my reach. Presently, it's taped to my glass-top desk where it continues to inspire me to practice with persistence the art of writing with abandon.


"Last night before I slept,
I watched a firefly writing bright poems
on the dark pages of my bedroom.
Although he wrote in golden, disappearing ink,
strange words from an unknown language,
I caught the rhythmic beauty
of his message and his method.
His art was an extension of his being--
a must of meaning in cool fires of feeling,
a paradox of ease and urgency,
contradicting darkness with a mix
of pyrotechnics and indifference.
He did not seem to care that I
was the only reader awake
and that I could only half read what he wrote.
But he was, nevertheless, a persistent poet;
and persistence can be understood in any language.
Although dawn erased both the poet and his poem,
the flaming loops and curves
of his un-selfconscious, uninhibited syllables
flow permanently pure in the midnight
rooms of my mind; and there with a foxfire pen,
I try to practice what I have been taught."   John D. Engle, Jr.

Mr. Engle is an award winning poet, creative writing teacher, and writing coach. He has also published works in fiction, non-fiction, and drama, including a full-length historical. 

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Louise said...

Hi, love your hunk of the month!

Never understood poetry, but I love reading it all the same. Thank you for sharing.

Deborah Walker said...

That is a wonderful poem.

How wonderful that it spoke to you, and htat you kept it for so many years. I think John Engle would be so pleased if he knew that.

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