Since I was five years old, I have had a pen behind my ear and a melody resonating through my head. Words posses a power over me. They create stories and hold meanings sacred to each individual who hears them. My great grandparents have written their stories through the most spectacular form of expression— poetry.
My great grandfather, John Kennedy, once danced to the beat of my great grandmother’s tambourine on the streets of New Orleans. Swaying to the tune, he beat his heels on the stained concrete and recited poems of his love for the city, his love for words and his unrestrained love for my great grandmother. Syncopating words of wisdom, he showcased his deepest emotions for all who would stop to toss a coin in his hat. Those streets served as his exhibition hall, a place that allowed others to discover the lovely song within them.
Scribbling phrases onto a small, monogrammed notepad, my great grandmother still transforms her thoughts into a cornucopia of euphonic harmony. Her soft-spoken manner is cast aside as the exquisite language echoes from her voice. Standing in front of her loving husband, a light exudes from within her soul, as she tells stories of her family, of her God and of her greatest love. Headstrong, despite her fragile, 5’1” frame, her words portray her life and provide hope to those who have lost their faith.
Perched on an arm-backed chair near my bedroom window, I also write. Passion spills over the pages of my journal as I search within myself for the meaning of life. The rhythm of my great grandfather’s black leather boots pulse through my veins and my great grandmother’s honeyed words escape from my pen. Our melodies reveal the inner most part of my soul. Words have become my refuge. Scrawls on the eraser-stained paper exploit my adoration for nature, for life and for love. My great grandparent’s writings exhibit their journeys through life; my writings exhibit my search for a journey. The cadence of their marvelous tunes offers eternal inspiration. Within a lifetime of triumphs and sorrows, they celebrate their love for simplicity. They have shown me that greatness can be found within the dangerous beat of a tambourine.
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