Monday, July 25, 2011

Blast from the Past

I received an interesting letter the other day from a college friend of mine with a forty year old, yellowed news clipping in it dated March 15th, 1971. Our university newspaper, The Eastern Echo, interviewed me about a poetry reading I was about to give, my first of two. I had forgotten about it.

There I am in a photograph, twenty-two years old and looking gaunt, with my trusty companion, Blitz, who is wondering when we are going for our walk. I'm spouting off about one thing or another. The reporter asked me if I was going to pursue a writing career.

"It's something I'd like to do. If I can make a living at it, I will; if not, I'll do something else. Eventually, I'd like to write longer works like novels, but I don't have the control over my writing I'd like to have."

After thirty-seven years of teaching English language arts and literature, a great preparation for a writing career, I've finally written that novel, Zug Island: A Detroit Riot Novel, and seen it through the publication process. It was a long time coming.

Prompted by that article, I dug out some of the poetry I wrote back then and read it with a mixture of amusement and humility. In retrospect, all that comes to mind is what a pretentious twit I was. But one poem in particular has withstood the test of time.

Impressions

Looking back,
I saw my footprints
Glow and then melt
in the sand.

Washed away
by the metronomic mix
of breeze and sea,
It rushed at me.


Time doesn't pass in anything so glorious or regal as a "winged chariot," it is measured in the silent footfalls we make as we walk through life.