It seems the most common criticism I get about my poems is that I don’t punctuate the lines to people’s liking. Oh well…. 😛
this book has gone round the world and back
i carried it place to place in a ragged backpack
from its worn waterlogged and ragged pages
i still find the words my people read for ages
in school they tried to take my book away
thought they could change the way i pray
they tried to give me a brand new book
with colorful clean pages – come take a look
but the words were different and unfamiliar
so i stood my ground like a strong stone pillar
today i hold this same book in my hands
the one i brought with me to a faraway land
the one i returned with so covered in sand
I get the feeling people will think this is about the student’s right to pray in public school. Just to be clear, that wasn’t what I intended, but you as a reader have every right to interpret it however you wish.
I resented being told (in school) that there was only one correct way to interpret a famous poem. Sure, the author’s intention may intentionally surface (e.g. the idea and identities behind Carly Simon’s song, “You’re So Vain”) but I believe the beauty of poetry in all of its vagueness is that it’s up to the reader to draw an original conclusion on what it’s about.
So anyway, if reading this poem empowers you to stand up for your beliefs in a setting where you feel religion has been made unwelcome, good on you!