You know I love words. I can’t think of anything which bears more responsibility in human interaction than they do. Words have given me power, control over myself, my thoughts, my emotions. These arbitrary collections of sounds and symbols say so much more than what is written in the dictionary. Words are truly worth more than the sum of their parts. Somehow, in the two or so years you’ve been in my life, I’ve recognized that fact.
I wrote before I knew you. My words were quiet, rarely true, and my poetry was scarcely more than a novelty. I called myself a poet. Madeleine, I wasn’t a poet then. I was an angsty seventh grader. What I’ve learned in time is that there’s not a strong enough metaphor out there to take a description of pain beyond just that, a description. Poetry is not about words; words are simply the medium. And while poetry is writing, not all writing is poetry. Nearly anyone can tell you the sky is blue, but not everyone is lucky enough to come across a person who reminds them to actually look at the sky. Poetry is not the art of elaborate description. Poetry is the art of taking that which cannot be described, and figuring out how to share it with the world.
You, my friend, have changed my world. The first few times I heard you stop mid-sentence to exclaim “look at the sky!”, I laughed. I didn’t understand, I thought of your perpetual excitement as an unremarkable quirk. On the trip to Washington D.C. in eighth grade, you told me about your life. I marveled at the places you’d been, but I missed most of the perspective you’d gained from those experiences. Then, you talked about how you strived to “build a palace from the rubbish heap.” Your words were beautiful, but that’s just it- I only heard your words. I didn’t look for their meaning.
Between then and now, I’ve relearned how to see. Sure, I could always take in the world with my eyes, but what good is that? The world was no more than the sum of its atoms until I learned to see with my thoughts. My dreams, passions, quirks, and idiosyncrasies- these are the sparks for poetry. Ideas can’t stem from sensation, only from subsequent inspiration. Without you, I’d likely still be writing about how wonderful cold lemonade tastes on a hot summer’s day. You’ve seen me through the nihilistic introspection chapter. I’m so lucky to have you by my side now as I enter a new, foreseeably lasting, stretch of my life. Thank you so much for showing me the world of wonder. It holds more treasure than I could ever imagine had I not met you.
I hope you’ll marvel alongside me next time I’m in awe of the sky.
With so much appreciation,
P.S.- Happy Birthday!! I got carried away while writing this, and I may have forgotten the initial purpose of congratulating you for braving the rough cosmic seas to complete your sixteenth circumnavigation of the sun. Mazel Tov!