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A first for me

Updated: Nov 3, 2021

What did we do on our summer vacation? We started off by traveling down the Great Mississippi River Road. Our first stop was La Crosse, followed by Pike's Peak State Park in Iowa, the Field of Dreams, Antique Archeology, before finally touring Galena, Illinois. We then went coast-to-coast in a single day, driving from the Mississippi River side of Iowa to other side on the Missouri River to see our extended family.

I enjoyed the site-seeing. I really enjoyed seeing family. And, to top it all off, I was able to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies, checking out some new bookstores.

Now normally you'd find me ensconced in the history or nonfiction area, but in La Crosse, at Pearl Street books, I branched out. I purchased a copy of Ten Masters of the Modern Essay, as well as a volume of Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems by Billy Collins.

The latter was a first for me. Never before in my life had I purchased a book of poetry.

It's only been in the last 12 months that I've had a slight interest in the genre. One glance inside Collins’ book told me what I needed to know. Here was a poet I could actually understand!

The first poem in Aimless Love was simply entitled Reader. The opening stanza reads as follows:

Looker, gazer, skimmer, skipper,

thumb-licking page-turner, peruser,

you getting your print-fix for the day,

pencil-chewer, note taker, marginalianist

with your checks and X's

first-timer or revisiter,

browser, speedster, English major,

flight-ready girl, melancholy boy,

invisible companion, thief, blind date, perfect stranger--

A poet knows something that pastors, and all Christians should. Words matter. Each and every one of them.

"Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him"

About this time last summer, I came across a great, short film about Robert Fulllerton, a welder-turned-poet in Scotland. When you have 11 minutes to spare, I strongly encourage you to check it out. It was Fullerton who helped me appreciate Proverbs 30:5.

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