Another day in National Poetry Month, another poem from the files. This one comes from CONNECTING DOTS, POEMS OF MY JOURNEY, my autobiographical collection published by Boyds Mills Press in 2004. It begins with one of my earliest memories, when I was four and got bitten by a dog, and ends with a poem about my parting wish for others.
The collection was an experiment in a couple of ways. At that time it was a bit unorthodox to place a brief description about each poem at the top of the page, and it was against traditional wisdom to write a book for young readers that spanned the life of the poet from age four to sixty-five. My editor for Connecting Dots, WENDY MURRAY, said then, and I think still believes, it’s the best book I’ve ever done. The cover photo is me at age four, the year I memorized the Gettysburg Address and recited it from memory on a stage at Grace Methodist Church, the place where I would marry SANDRA SUE KENNON eighteen years later.
Here's the final poem in the book, "I Wish You Bright Paint." I’m 65. I sit here at my desk holding this poem -- the last dot in my picture -- and I wonder who will read it. To you, whoever you are, thank you. I wish you well. WISHING YOU BRIGHT PAINT Sometimes I feel -- I don’t know -- squeezed out like a tube of toothpaste toward the end rolled up tight against the cap for a few last brushings. But if I say the tube is paint used in pictures of my life, that makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, used the squeezes to make things happen. I like that better So as we go on, you and I, you to your life, me to mine, I wish you tubes of bright paint for all the pictures of your life. Take off their caps, squeeze them well, keep painting. (c) 2004 David L. Harrison from CONNECTING DOTS, 2004