National Poetry Month, the running of the Boston Marathon, opening day at Fenway Park, birds singing, buds blooming, warm sunshine - the world transforms in April and this year, after crossing the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon, I feel as though I will have moved through this amazing time of transformation in my life. I'm so grateful to have you along on this journey. Since we've talked a lot about the journey on the Road to the Boston Marathon and I've shared my poetic reflections with you after training runs, I thought today I would share with you the magic of poetry of in my life. Ahh, but before I do - I must share with you the most amazing sign during yesterday's 10.5 mile taper run.
As we were heading out along Beacon Street here in Brookline, Mass., I saw a penny. Those of you who have read my blog know that we have had a lot of signs with finding money while we trained. There were a herd of runners behind us and I knew that if I stopped to pick this penny up, I could get trampled and then where would I be after a year of training and being on the threshold of running the Marathon. So I felt God's Presence and ran on. While on Heartbreak Hill, my daughter stopped in her tracks. Buried in the crack in the sidewalk on Heartbreak Hill, my daughter spotted a quarter - not just any quarter but a quarter dedicated to Helen Keller. Her quotes and life story have always been a major source of inspiration to me and Bernie Siegel, MD (who through the years has been a guiding healing light for me) has quoted her so many times in his talks, books and on his forum. During the last two miles of our training run, we found two more pennies - 27 cents! Not 26 but 27 so God is letting us know that we have what we need to go the distance....
The magic of poetry in my life - ahhh - I could write for days about what poetry has done to transform my life and has brought joy, healing, comfort and inspiration to those whose lives I've been blessed to touch, so I will need to ask God for the inspiration to keep this short. Ever since my twins were in kindergarten, I discovered the joy of writing poetry for special occasions. Throughout the years, I would write poems to commemorate special events in the lives of our family and friends and everyone said, 'you should work for Hallmark.' I didn't even give it a second thought until that day in February 2007, when I felt the urge to create and the poem, "Running the Race" just flowed out of me.
Late summer 1958 my kindergarten year
Everyone around me filled with nervous fear
Despite the Salk vaccine hope polio would disappear
The polio virus crept right up and knocked me in the rear.
Dancing all around the gym feeling free just like a bird
I dropped to the ground just like a stone and no one said a word.
The pain it was so searing-the diagnosis even worse
"It's polio" the doctor said...he was abrupt and terse.
Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'
But with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.
Miss Holly physical therapist, curly hair and a warm, broad smile
It tempered the pain of being apart - to walk I'd take awhile.
I always wore those 'special' shoes the kids they poked and teased
With no support and much abuse with childhood I wasn't pleased.
But put nose to the grindstone and learned all that I could
I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good.
Years went by and no more thought to polio did I give
I accepted the limp and everything else and decided my life I would live.
But symptoms of weakness and muscle pain did grow
I kept a stoic face hoping no one else would know.
Life no longer was my own I struggled through each day
Suffered in silence, isolated from friends-trying to keep depression at bay.
And with the grace of glorious God my world it opened wide
I discovered there was a Post Polio team and they were on my side.
Using wheelchair to travel, set limits on what I could do,
Resulted in joy to realize I could live life anew.
Celebrated my body- creaks, groans and need for a brace
While in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.
Sought out paths for healing and my spirit flew free
For the first time in life, I could truly be me.
The chains are gone and possibilities abound
I'm a tree with my roots planted firmly in ground.
I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine
So much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.
After all these years I can join the loving human race
I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.
With this poem, God instructed me to begin to love myself and to imagine the possibilities and before I knew what was happening to me, I had a book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World". I publish a poem of the week from my book on my website www.newworldgreetings.com.
In addition to writing inspirational poems, I discovered this incredible talent to create customized poetry to celebrate, heal, invite, thank. eulogize...you name it, I can weave your sentiments into a customized poem. You just tell me what it is you want to convey via email or a phone conversation and within a few short days I create a poem unique to the person and/or occasion. For really great fun, I collaborate with Cool Dog Productions www.cooldogproductions.com and we do a video eCard;as an added bonus, it's eco-friendly.
I'm having more fun than the law allows and can you imagine? National Poetry Month and the running of the Boston Marathon all wrapped up into the gift of April - no wonder why April is my favorite month!
Be sure to order your copy of New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World by going to www.newworldgreetings.com. Remember - I donate 20% of the proceeds of the sales to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.
Check out the samples of my customized poems at www.newworldgreetings.com and be sure to contact me so we can create a new world of greeting cards just for you!
It's not too late to donate to Team McManus and their run for the Boston Marathon - visit www.firstgiving.com/teammcmanus
See you at the finish line - in just two weeks - wow!