Perfectly poetic, words are wonderful

Karen Wils photo An old buck and a new orchid flower might inspire poem.

ESCANABA — Words are wonderful,

They can be soft and sweet — like marshmallow Peeps.

They can be gentle and serene — like spring rain or sun setting into a scene.

Words as strong,

As the Mackinac Bridge is long.

And dainty,

Like wild violets, butterfly wings and daisies.

Words are powerful and words are poetry. April is National Poetry Month.

Libraries, schools and publishing houses all try to please the public with a few special words in April. I know, it’s a tradition that all Yoopers hate poems and yet, we grew up with them. From lullabies and nursery rhymes to jump rope games, school cheers, prayers and the lyrics to popular music, poetry surrounded us in our younger days.

Our ancestors may not have been Sandburgs (“Chicago”), Longfellows (“Hiawatha”), Frosts (“Birches”) or Poes (“The Raven”). But our ancestors sang voyagers songs, chanted lumber camp ditties, recited memorized verses in one room school houses and sang around a Native American drum.

Poems are words put together in a pleasing fashion. Ballads, sonnets, elegies, and haikus are a few types of poems. But some of the best poems don’t rhyme or follow a stanza. They are freestyle poems packed full of everyday words with a hard hitting punch of feelings.

Poems can be funny, soothing or thought provoking. They feel good when they roll off of your tongue.

Our grandparents often said cute things like “rise and shine,” “wait until the cows come home,” “get on the horn,” “use elbow grease,” “son-of-a beech” or “son-of-a-birch,” and “don’t be a barn boss.” These are all colloquial historic phrases.

Today our jargon has changed. Our words are growing limited. Years ago the family could sit around the wood stove on a cold night and tell stories, jokes and reminisce and be totally entertained. Today we socialize through the cell phone. Text messages have replaced hand-written love notes. Emoji’s replace words that once expressed great feelings.

Acronyms and slang words are accepted everywhere. Looking a person in the eye and speaking in a full sentence is becoming a lost art.

Writing or composing poetry or prose is not as popular as going online and finding them.

One of the many nice things about living in the U.P. is sometimes all you have to do is go for a walk in the woods and poetry finds you. Beauty, creativity and imagination thrive in the Northwoods.

Upper Michigan is poetry in action.

Read a poem and write a poem about the path that you are on.


Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong north Escanaba resident. Her folksy columns appear weekly in Lifestyles.


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