Sunday, June 10, 2007

More Dandelions

I suppose in response to my recent blog on dandelions, my mom emailed me this blast from the past -- a poem I wrote in high school for a national fine arts competition sponsored by our church denomination. I've deleted the final two lines of the poem as it was entered in the competition, because they weren't part of my original composition; they were added on the advice of my mentors to make the poem's relevance to the theme of the competition more obvious (entries not in keeping with the theme would be eliminated). But I always felt those two lines were hokey and contrived, and detracted from the overall effect of the poem. So, since this is MY blog, and MY poem is appearing in print here -- probably in defiance of "full rights" -- I have deigned to publish it in its original, unadulterated form:


Are these the bold and mighty lions,

These fluffy, flighty dandelions?

The daisies laugh; the rose entices,

But dandelions sacrifice.

Shedding off their lions manes

As soft and silvery sailplanes:

Sailplanes to bear the seed

Wherever autumn’s wind may lead.

And in the spring, the ‘lions roar,

A thousand...

Plus a thousand more.

Shall I then merely bloom to die,

Or shall I be a dandelion?

Speaking of "full rights", I am reminded of my own naivete when I see this poem. I did not realize at age fifteen, nor was it explained to me, that my poem would become the property of the religious body operating the competition, and the implications thereof -- that it was theirs to publish without remuneration as often as they liked. So I was a more than a little bit shocked a few years later (in college in fact) when a friend showed me my poem in print in teen devotional booklet. I admit it was thrilling to see my poem in print in something fairly widely circulated, with my name on it and all. But mostly I was taken aback -- I had no idea that I had prostituted my poem in this way. How public -- like a frog! What did I sign where it said that my poem was no longer my poem? First rights is an acceptable exchange for participating in a competition -- but full rights is asking too much. It's too much like stealing.

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