I'm a poet - I have written poetry off and on since my school years as a child. I didn't write a lot of poetry back then, just the occasional poem. I strongly remember though, that I wrote one poem that worked well and got me much praise. I was thirteen or fourteen at the time, and at that uncertain teenager stage, the praise was welcome.
I no longer have a copy of that poem, but I think my mother might still have a copy of it. I remember the subject I was doing at the time and I remember the name of my teacher. It was History class and my teacher was Mr Scalzi (he later went on to become a member of parliament in South Australia). I didn't really like history classes, and I'm still not a huge fan of history.
In history, I see the glorification of war, with so many people not learning a thing from what they've experienced, read about or seen. The same things happen over and over again. Invasion, conflict, war, death. Surely we should have learned how to avoid the terrible things that happen, that go so wrong?
Anyway, back to my first acclaimed poem. I wrote a little verse about a man in ancient somewhere that started with a 'C'. The man was beseeching the gods to let him keep his child and not sacrifice him to the god. It was a rhyming poem, but not in a clunky half-arsed ballad way. Well, I don't think it was anyway. This happened more than thirty years ago, so I'm not totally sure of the details.
I don't even remember whether we students were supposed to be writing poetry, I suspect not, but I wrote the poem and included it with my presentation on the subject of wherever - it may have been Carthage, something like that.
The writing of this poem taught me many things. Some of the things I realised at the time, others I have came to know as I have aged. The first thing I learned was that I liked writing more than I liked studying. Writing the poem was much more fun for me than learning dates and names. I learned with surprise too, that not many of my fellow students liked writing poetry.
I also learned that my mother is a lovely person and that she was truly proud of me for something I had done. This was a good thing to learn. I was never a sporting child, unlike my older brother. He did lots of great sporting things, so he got his deeds clapped for and awarded often.
I went on to become what I am now - a published poet involved in poetry in my community. I am also working on my first collection of poetry. This is due to be published in the middle of this year. If my mother and my teacher hadn't made much of that poem all those years ago, I wonder if I would still be in the same position and doing the same things now?
It can be small things that happen when we're young that can have significant effects on us. These small things can happen to anyone, and change things around in major or minor ways. I think when I see history presented in a way that highlights the good that can come when people are treated in a good way, or when they have an epiphany, finally understanding something important, that's when I like history.
Going back to better understand what has happened, I can see sense in that. This little story about my first important poem has shown me that history can be important. Hours and hours of watching TV about fighter jets killing people and ruining cities has never taught me anything much except that violent confrontations are terrible things. It's a shame not everyone learns that lesson.
I have learned that words are more effective than violence in life's situations. I avoid violence, except for watching sports, and even then I prefer sporting talents over body to body clashes. I hate punch ups on the footy field - it shows a lack of the real talent necessary to do the thing properly.
Do you have any deep things you have learned? I'd love to read about it. Please leave a message!