- By Allen Jesson
- Published 03/23/2008
I am undoubtedly the poorest (in material terms) that I’ve ever been but my soul is happy. The feedback I receive on a daily basis encourages me forward. One Canadian girl even told me that she was going to commit suicide that night, that was until she had read one of my poems (“Last Words”, the true story about the last words spoken between a mother and her son, who unfortunately committed suicide later that day). Again, the life-changing and in this case, the life-saving power of poetry. For the record, I stayed in touch, she found a counsellor and the last time we spoke, she was starting to live life again. Of course, it’s always a terrific honour be able to write poetry for special events in people’s lives. One such example is to be able to play a key role when a couple have been married 50 years. Wedding vows are always a pivotal moment. From birth to death (and beyond) I get involved. It is very special. There are times when life has not been kind and I have also written for rape and murder victims. “A Father’s Revenge” is the tragic tale of a father who wanted his nephew to suffer for murdering his 12 year old son. I very nearly refused the commission but managed to weave some hope into the story. It hasn’t all been a bed of roses. I have made some enormous choices along the way and I am no longer married to the woman I started this journey with. I do not relish nor enjoy the role of the “weekend Dad” and that has been a terrible price to pay. I’m not sure my children yet understand the decision and that may take many years. Some people were particularly cruel and called me “mad”. That still hurts. However, I have started again with my first love and we are happy. Monday mornings now feel no different to Sunday mornings, as I “work” seven days a week. I am no longer stressed and no longer “manage my time”. A lot of my friends think I have “dropped out” but the truth is I now “work” harder and longer than I ever did in the corporate world. Yesterday, for example, saw me at my desk at 0800 and I finished typing at 0100 this morning. However, I’m happy, I’m following my dreams and I’m doing something I love to do. I have made “my vacation my vocation” (Oscar Wilde). I started this tale with that first poem (What If?), written nearly 10 years ago and my first after a break of 20 years, so I think it’s quite fitting that I end this story with the last poem I have written, and this is the one I was typing at one o’clock this morning. In the US, Dan Miller, a heroin addict and ex con had been shot and killed by the police this week. His brother, Dale, contacted me and asked if I would write a poem for his brother’s funeral. Dale wanted to celebrate Dan’s life and not have Dan remembered for his tragic end. One Big, Unstoppable Spirit Let he who is without sin, stand up and cast the first stone. Famous words said a long time ago, but the speaker knew he was not alone. Because we have all done things in life, most of us, at one time, would have broken a law, so please, for one moment, put your judgement aside, and maybe that is what these words are really for. Because actually, I’d like to celebrate Dan’s life, and that is really why I’m standing here today, because I have got a few thoughts on my mind, yes, I do have some heartfelt words to say: You see, Dan lived by different rules, when he was born, they probably broke the mould,
but that does not make him any l
ess worthy, his is a story that deserves to be told. Dan had such a wonderful attitude about life, and yes, he had such a wonderful soul, and I think we could learn a lot from him, now he has gone, he is finally playing the teachers role. He never had an ounce of negative attitude, even though his adult life was drug filled with despair, he would always say he could not beat the demons, and with that much conviction, you could see them standing there. And it was those demons that led him on their demonic path, a path, unfortunately, that many others will follow, take it from me, Heroin is no heroine, like my brother’s death, so very hard to swallow. Because Dan was such a free, fine spirit, it seemed he danced to a different drum, a different tune, and his life was tragically cut so short, yes, his life is over (and way too soon). He told me he could not take those bars again, so I guess in the end, he chose his own path out, but that is not the way I want to remember him, because that is not what his life was all about. He fathered three beautiful children, and now, he will not be here to watch them grow, but I reckon his spirit is alive in us all, yes, and there are a few other things that you should know. Never judge a book by its cover, because you will never get to know what is on the inside, and when I think of Dan I get this feeling, and my heart swells and fills with pride. Because imagine the world and how it could be, if we, like Dan, would give the shirts off our backs, imagine the wonderful, chaotic, creative genius, if we all didn’t follow those worn out tracks. Dan certainly chose the path less travelled, and now I have lost my protector, my elder brother, and there’s a big empty space in my heart, because I know, as Dans go, there will never be another. And he had such big, wonderful dreams, his attitude to life was let’s be in it, so I know that in my heart, his dreams will continue on, because undoubtedly, Dan had one big, unstoppable spirit. And I think that is quite a fitting end to this recollection, as the power of poetry, the power of dreams, when harnessed correctly, can be summed up as one, big, unstoppable spirit. They can also bring a tear to the eye: “Allen, Great job. I have to tell you that you allowed me to cry for my brother for the first time and I thank you for that. You have a remarkable talent. I am going to visit my parents and read it to them. I would like to make changes if necessary later today after visiting my parents. Thanks again and again and again.” So that brings me to the here and now. I continue to write for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and lifes sadder events. Finally, I think there is a Universal Law for making dreams happen. Six simple steps that will lead you to your heart’s desire: 1. Have a dream. 2. Ensure that the dream is real and achievable (but don’t let this restrict your ambition). 3. Believe in that dream. 4. Want that dream. 5. Commit to that dream 6. Think that dream
“Believe in, want and commit to your achievable dreams and they will happen” But I think I will finish with another poets words, as I think he said this far more eloquently, so long ago. God Bless. Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. Goethe, 18th century poet and philosopher.