POET'S CORNER by Jeff Hartzer
#004: September 2004

It Don’t Come Easy

Ringo Starr had a popular song that speaks of today’s hot topic: r-e-c-o-g-n-i-t-i-o-n. There are many definitions for this word; let me paraphrase a few: acknowledgement, attention, favorable notice, to know or to identify, approval, acceptance, appreciation for...From our first cries as a new born, we crave and look forward to moments of recognition from others.
The problem is that it is a scary thing for a lot of folks to acknowledge others with praise or compliments. There are some folks who find giving praise to others easier than accepting the gift of praise for themselves. These folks are rare. Sad as it seems, criticism seems to come easier and more often than praise or positive recognition.

When a person writes down their thoughts and words, that person is called to recognize his or her own feelings about those words. To think a thought and then to physically write that thought into words on paper is, when you think about it, a miraculous event. Miraculous and scary. What have we created? Is it the truth? Is it magic? Is it a message to self or to others? Can it be ingredients for a p-o-e-m ? Oh my God, what have I done?

When one distributes their words through email, or puts them in an envelope with a stamp (remember those things we used to call ‘letters’?), how those words will be received is a mystery. You hope for a positive reaction to your words. You can pray. But frankly, you just never know how your words will be understood by others. Your words express your own reality and experience. Each receiver of your words has his or her own unique ‘experience’ of life as well. I may mention the word ‘c-a-t’. You might be a lover or a hater of cats; you bring a unique experience to that simple three letter word. Your opinion of ‘cats’ may not be the same as mine. Is this a bad thing or a good thing? Am I ‘a good witch or a bad witch’, a Republican or a Democrat? A dog lover or cat lover or both? And what are you, the reader of these words? Does it matter? How can we learn to rcognize and acknowledge each other?

Through our shared knowledge of words, we can reach a place of recognition that is shared together. Words are powerful. They can heal. They can wound. They can beg for miracles. Words need to be written and they need to be heard by an audience of at least one. You are your first audience. After that, who knows? Where do you share your words ? To whom do you speak your words? Are they locked inside your heart and mind? Are they on paper? Are they merged into a poem, a story, an article? Do you write words only for homework to be marked up by teachers bearing evil red pens? That is for you to decide.

Soon we will hear the sounds of geese and cranes returning to winter in our valley. They have their song to sing. They sing it without judgement. Their flight song is as miraculous as your words are. Think about this. Ponder it and see if you don’t have some words that others may benefit from seeing and hearing because we have a place for your words...A contest with prize money and a guaranteed audience to hear your words. Sure, you can write words on paper just for the miraculous joy of the process but if you can win money and recognition, so much the better! So strike up the band...Take it away, Herb Alpert. Kick it in Mantovani. Enter our contest. Mail in your poems. Sing your song and take flight with us; you might win money and give birth to r-e-c-o-g-n-i-t-i-o-n. And you know, it just don’t come easy.

Jeff Hartzer
copyright 2004




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Written by Jeff Hartzer , The Poet's Corner appears monthly in Albuquerque's South Valley Ink.



Jeff Hartzer, MEd. presents a unique view of poetry as a magical gift waiting to be opened . Jeff is a poet, writer, teacher, and the Executive Director of the AirDance ArtSpace. ( 1-505-842-9418).

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