Alphabet soup

alphabet-soupI looked forward to the steaming bowl of soup placed in front of me on those cold winter days, even though I really didn’t like the way it tasted. Vegetables were not at the top of my favorite food list in my adolescent days. What did attract me to that otherwise mediocre meal offering was the sea of letters floating before me, swimming among the green beans, carrots, and tomatoes in search of their rightful place in my bowl.

Only twenty-six letters in the English alphabet, and yet the breadth and depth of emotions and meaning that can be conveyed through the precise arrangement of them is utterly confounding. Over the course of my life, I have used those symbols of communication to write checks, to solve mathematical equations, to compose book reports, to tell stories, and to share the philosophical musings in my mind.

There is one form of written communication that has always eluded me. My brain has never fully wrapped its metaphorical arms around poetry. I have consumed the words of the most respected poets, but my mind stumbles upon the words, like mental hiccups interrupting the flow of thought. Perhaps, like anything else, the appreciation of poetry takes patience and practice.

I realize that much of the predisposition to these sentiments is due to the less than fruitful experiences as a student in elementary, middle, and high school. Aside from the various renditions of the ‘roses are red’ poems tossed out on the playground among friends, my exposure to poetry up until this point in my life has been very limited. I recall the rigid rules associated with the haiku form, the free-flowing thoughts in my mind being constrained because it didn’t fit into the prescribed syllabic pattern.

Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. ~Robert Frost

All my writing to date has been characterized by authenticity, vulnerability, and the conveyance of emotion. It is these three characteristics that light a fire inside me and allow me to exercise self-expression in the best way I know how. I have given poetry a bad rap, an unfair preconceived notion, and I don’t want that to be. It deserves an honest chance to find its way into my soul.

Gone are the restrictions, the rules, and the prescribed manner of composing these twenty-six letters of our native language. Instead, I turn my focus to the words of Robert Frost. I feel the emotion. I allow it to find its thought. I allow that thought to find words and pour out of my fingertips and on to the page. It may not be pretty. It may not be cohesive. But, it will be me. And therefore, it will be right.

I’m still not a huge fan of alphabet soup, at least not in the palatable form. I have, however, decided to compose a twenty-six line poem with each line beginning with the next letter in our alphabet, a different type of alphabet soup that provides nourishment for the soul. The thoughts buried deep inside are waiting for their opportunity to present themselves. Swirl your spoon in the sea of alphabet soup that comprise your daily life. Allow the letters to wade where they may. Allow the emotions to form and be carried on the coat tails of the venting steam rising from within.

Always wondering
Believing that good prevails
Caught in a tangled web
Dangling by a thread
Everything hanging in the balance
Forget what has happened in the past
Go forward into the future
Happy to part ways with the norm
Inside it feels right
Just following my soul’s whisper
Kicking bad habits to the curb
Laughing away past misfortunes
Meeting my destiny for the first time
Never looking back
Open my eyes
Place faith in the beating of my heart
Quit quitting on the voice from inside
Remove all inhibitions
Sip from the chalice of wild dreams
Turn them into a drunken reality
Under an enchanted spell
Villainous voices vanquished
Walking one foot in front of the other
X marks the next spot on my journey
Yearning for inner peace and fulfillment
Zero chance of failure, success is guaranteed


11 thoughts on “Alphabet soup

  1. disneybelle July 7, 2014 / 10:22 am

    love this post 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • davecenker July 7, 2014 / 10:47 am

      Thank you my love 😉 You are my rock. You and your support are what allow me to take these seemingly small leaps of faith with my writing into new areas, and I am feeling more and more comfortable with it over time (even if it isn’t quite polished yet). I love you sunshine 🙂

  2. adrianapridemore July 7, 2014 / 12:22 pm

    I don’t think poetry has eluded you at all. This was great! I had a teacher once that have me the best advice about my poetry. He said, “It’s a sponge. Squeeze the water out of it.” I didn’t understand for the longest time what he meant but once I did it helped all of my writing. Don’t know if it will help you but I thought I would share.

    • davecenker July 7, 2014 / 12:40 pm

      Thank you Adriana, that is a very insightful visual concerning the sponge and squeezing the water out of it. I think this is what I tend to do in most of my writing, pouring everything from within out on to the page. But, this visualization has helped me to apply it to all forms of writing, poetry included. Thank you once again and best wishes for an inspired day 😉

      • adrianapridemore July 7, 2014 / 12:44 pm

        Yeah it tends to make editing easier too! Hope you have a great day too!

  3. alyssamichellefrench July 8, 2014 / 9:29 pm

    Dave, you truly whip up some of the best “alphabet soup” out there! Your posts are always filled with elegant prose (and now poetry) that is absolutely magical to read. Thank you for sharing your wonderful writing!(:

    • davecenker July 9, 2014 / 8:05 am

      Thank you Alyssa for your kind words, it is wonderful to see you back in the blogging world. It’s the sharing of my thoughts and interacting with others that makes it so incredibly rewarding, so thank you 🙂 Perhaps we will be treated to your own recipe for alphabet soup in the near future? 😉

  4. Eric Tonningsen July 11, 2014 / 4:21 pm

    I am of like mind when it comes to poetry, Dave. A commendable effort, what with your soup mix. Nicely composed, and as I feel and believe with “art,” what it is is in the eyes, mind and heart of the receiver. When things need to subscribe to a fixed or rigid rule, I lose interest. That’s just the non-conformist in me. So bravo, for letting this composition “be me.” It’s poetry to this reader as well.

    • davecenker July 11, 2014 / 5:06 pm

      Thanks Eric, I guess my wild side is coming out in the past several months. My definition of wild is certainly different from others. But as the cliché goes, it’s about the journey not the destination. I’m enjoying the ride so far, experiencing several different genres and exposing my creative side to a plethora of opportunities to explore. Thanks for your kind words, it’s in the sharing of ideas and thoughts that writing comes alive for me. Your contributions are very much appreciated 😉

  5. Marquita Herald (@marquitaherald) July 12, 2014 / 4:04 pm

    You are clearly a natural David. 🙂 While I do like your poem (honest!), I must confess that I have never managed to develop an appreciation for poetry, for that matter never even tried to cultivate a taste for it. For the most part I think of myself as a fairly patient person but the few times I’ve read poetry trying to figure out what the author was actually trying to say was like piecing together a puzzle … come to think of it, that’s another past time I’ve never cared for. Hum …

    • davecenker July 14, 2014 / 8:51 am

      I can relate Marty, really 😉 Sometimes I wonder if the entire concept of poetry is meant more for the poet than for the readers, a form of self-reflection that holds the most poignant meaning for the author. Of course, that’s just a theory, and probably not a very good one at that. Regardless, the nugget of wisdom that I extracted from my experience was to let the thoughts flow freely. When I let that occur, I discover many new things about myself without letting the rational mind interfere with the process. As always, thank you for your very thoughtful comments 🙂

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