I spent most of my life as a copper (cop was considered a derogatory term when I was first sworn in, not so much now), and I loved every minute of it. But allow me to let you in on a little secret. Police work is HARD on a marriage: for the cop and the spouse. Police often have a hard time separating their work and home lives. Sometimes the job insists on following them home. Feelings and emotions are squelched as a coping mechanism. As for the spouse, the strain and worry about injury or death pray heavily, as do rotating shifts, missed holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and children’s recitals, ball games, etc. I mention this so you might understand why my wife Sandy and I have only been married for thirteen years.
We live together on the outskirts of St. Louis, Missouri, with our two daughters: one of them is a small Doberman pincer (Tigger), and the other is a huge Weimaraner (Fiona). Between us, we have eight grandchildren. I love her, the grandkids and the dogs more than life itself, and I am living in the happiest period of my life.
Thirty-seven years as a cop made me yearn to write something other than police reports. I have read classical poetry (Shakespeare, Robert Burns, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sara Teasdale, etc.) for years. Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How do I Love Thee, http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/how-do-i-love-thee/, is my favorite poem of all time. About twenty years ago, I began writing the occasional poem and showing them to a few close friends who I thought wouldn’t laugh at them, at least not to my face. They were on par with some high school kid’s doodling. I longed to do better, but avoided writing for pleasure due to the lack of the spelling gene. I had to wait for computers to contain spell-check before trying to write seriously.
Later, I played around writing a couple of novels to the point of trying to find an agent. After piling up enough rejection slips, I let that dream go.
About three years ago, I shattered my elbow while at work and had to retire from the job I looked forward to every day of those thirty-seven years. For the first time, I could concentrate on my writing; although the shattered elbow causes the little and ring finger of my left hand to type some really strange stuff once in a while. I was writing in a couple of personal blogs, one political and one of a personal, family nature (with a readership of around three), but I still wanted to do that poetry thing.
The Poet’s Quill was created as a place to hone any poetry skill I may have. I’m writing this after the first three weeks of the Quill’s existence. Already, I have learned how little I know—almost nothing of modern poetry. Here, I will stumble, fall, get up, and keep experimenting with verse. Already a few new friends have been found, and they are gently guiding me to new heights. It would be my pleasure to someday be called a poet.