I have sometimes been asked how I learned to write metered, rhymed poetry, as it is so uncommon today to attempt it. Like many others, as a teenager I wrote the more common and rather unruly poetry of our day. Yet, I was always fascinated by more classic verse. Disappointed with my own effusions, I gave up writing poetry altogether..
When I was around 30, I read an article about Fanny Crosby in a magazine. It said that she started writing hymns when she was 40. I misunderstood the statement, thinking that she had begun to write poetry at that age. She had been writing poetry since she would write. But I thought to myself, "If Fanny Crosby could start at 40, I can start at 30." I was inspired to start working on verses that had enough structure that they could be used as hymns.
One of my first attempts was a plea for my two-year old, whom we called Liddie Bear, to be allowed to continue sucking her thumb a little longer.
Ity, bity Liddie Bear,
Sucks her thumb and strokes her hair ~
Comforts that cannot long last,
When her baby days are past.
Daddy says, "No more, no more,
When those toddling steps are o'er.
Thumbs are for the younger set."
We agree, and yet, and yet?
What, oh what then will there be,
For a girl who's less than three,
Of solace meet and comfort sweet,
For childish fears that she will meet,
For little cares that come her way,
Plaguing Liddie Bear each day?
Daddy, Daddy, don't you are?
Won't you help your Liddie Bear?
I had to strain my wording to make the rhythm, but the plea had its effect. And it doesn't seem to have had any debilitating effect on her. Here she is on her wedding day in March of 2011: