I wrote a poem the other day. The best poem I had ever written in my life. At least, those were my thoughts immediately after writing it. But then something happened. It didn’t receive the attention I thought it deserved. Wasn’t the world supposed to sit up and notice?
“Why do I try?” “Nobody gets me!” “Maybe it stunk…” Oh, the drama a neglected piece of poetry can create. Yes, I can be that shallow. I can be that shallow every day.
Later that afternoon, while washing dishes and brooding, I was staring out of the window when I saw some clouds light up from the sun. They were soft and white with dark places that made the white places glow even brighter and the most inviting blue sky behind them. I called for one of the kids to see. It was too beautiful to take in by myself. And it hit me. Those clouds are worlds more beautiful than any poem I could ever write. And the words, “I think that I shall never see a poem as lovely as a tree,” spilled out of my mouth and captured new meaning.
Nothing I ever create, with words or paint or any other medium, will ever surpass those clouds. Or a tree. Or a caterpillar. Nature wins. Nature always wins. God’s hand is superior to mine. And that was a comforting thought that made me smile.
I can play with my words, and feel the joy of writing something that says what I feel, and the hope that someone else will say “me, too.” But even if they don’t, and even if my poems miss the mark, I still have a loving, encouraging, and dare I say, applauding “audience of One.”
Just as the rainbow reminds us of God’s promise never to destroy the earth with a flood again, the clouds can remind me of the gift of creativity he has given to us, his image bearers. What a gift to play in his beautiful world!
by Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.