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

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