Proud moment here: Amelia’s original poem has been published in the 2012 poetry collection “Talented” from the America Library of Poetry. She is letting me publish it here, too. Enjoy! Read more
I wrote this poem just a little over twenty years ago… a day before my 26th birthday, and a few weeks before Beth and I were married in Greenville, Illinois. It’s quite amusing to me that I mentioned feeling like I was 46, as that’s the age I am now; for the record, it feels very different than I guessed it would at that time. The good news is, it’s even better than I expected.
Twenty-Five and Going
by Roger Darnell
I’ve put off the great Chinese thinkers
for another year, at least.
Taken up being a fiancee.
Read a lot of Bukowski. That was a good idea.
Feel like I’m forty-six, only
My poetry stacked up… sort of thin.
The 25-year-old poet was buried.
But so was the 24-year-old. So what?
The word years is losing significance.
On an abacus it would mean beads.
On my awakeness, it means
Memories, feelings, fears, understandings.
My mom gave me some of her work. A lot of it.
I think that means something. Praised me –
in a letter, not the poetry — as being a good man.
Now that’s something. I don’t care who you are –
that’s something. I’m getting married. Think it’ll be
something, also. Proud. I’d admit it.
And going! Going now, as the pen pauses…
by Roger Darnell
There could be a
limerick or something
something quick and terse –
But I just want to say
everything’s going so fast;
you know, not in every way…
but in most,
it really is.
Can’t say much more
Although I can fit in
thanks, and graciousness,
and pay attentions.
When I wrote the following poem nearly 24 years ago, I had never even seen a salamander. Still, it instantly became one of my favorites, so you can imagine how excited I was to discover salamanders in our back yard when we moved to North Carolina back in 2001. Both Amelia and Riley have grown up catching and loving them, too. Enjoy!
by Roger Darnell
sal•a•man•der n. a mythological reptile resembling the lizard, that was said to live in fire.
“Being must be felt. It can’t be thought.” ― Eckhart Tolle
Like you and everyone else of course, when it comes down to essential facts, I have my parents to thank for my existence. Following on through with my countdown ‘Ramble’ project, I end (for now) this shared journey. These words complete a poetic arc for yours truly, and looking ahead, I am aiming to write and produce new works you will find to be flat-out fascinating.
At this point in my life, I have grown to love the act of writing a poem. It’s most sacred to me… Read more
More than ten years ago, after relocating to the Blue Ridge Mountains and making final preparations for parenthood (we actally studied The Bradley Method), Beth and I launched into this current phase of our love story. Experiencing life’s joys and sorrows together over the next couple of years, while diligently tending to my business and supporting personal projects for many members of the family, I wondered what was to come for the creative writer. In 2002, I made up an answer, in the form of a new writing project named Ramble. In it, I aimed to address my personal challenges, write simply and seek new focus. From the beginning, these words have appeared at the top: “This document will hopefully grow in the weeks ahead to represent a journey: the rediscovery of the writer inside a person caught up in his life as businessman, husband and parent.”
Going mostly on instinct, I limited each line to 38 characters, wrote the first entry 73 lines long, and planned to make each subsequent verse one line shorter. If all went as hoped, I figured the final line would be something significant, even if most of the others might be forgettable.
Leaping ahead to the present, Ramble has been somewhat miraculous to me; as you might expect, it changed dramatically over time… and so have I. For the first, longest verses, I vented in detail about momentous developments, including some of the bigger political and global issues of those days. Progressively, I grew more and more daunted in facing the need to communicate things of real importance concisely. For anyone arriving at a crossroads in life with ability and time to write, I encourage a similar writing challenge. If you don’t have years and years to devote, begin with a five-line poem, then count down four, three, two and one: In my experience, it’s a productive approach at focusing oneself. Read more
A good number of great people have expressed at least some appreciation for my writing over the years. Since long ago, many believers have expressed confidence in these abilities, and I feel that their belief is essential to who I am. When I think about what’s to come for me as a writer and artist, I’m inspired by the idea of honoring each of those individuals, and all others interested in my words. Gratefully, I’ll carry on.
In the summer of 1995, I joined the production crew of the primetime NBC television series “seaQuest” at Universal Studios Florida, and began an adventure I’ll never forget, helping produce 13 episodes with a Who’s Who of spectacular production and entertainment industry talents. We were in Orlando, making headlines in all the top national trades well before the first episode of “SeaQuest 2032″ hit the airwaves featuring Michael Ironside, Roy Scheider, Michael York and scores of other hot and rising Hollywood stars.
I earned my job from the prolific television producer and director Steve Beers, by committing to handling script distribution and revisions for all the producers and writers, just as I’d done for him and the other producers on “Fortune Hunter” the previous year. That show for Fox had made a big splash and also involved serious heavy hitters, but seaQuest was a phenomenon… a massive franchise for NBC, Amblin Television, Universal Television and all the other industry all-stars involved. Read more
In the spring of 1995, I was trying to be many things to many people, and those wide attempts to stretch, please and succeed consumed so much energy that more than once, I was caught unprepared for the results. Especially for my inner-poet, it was a mad time.
That January, I had sent the following letter to Tom Tilford at Midwest Poetry Review to thank him for publishing Ethereal Stones, share more work and continue building our relationship. The sticky note he returned with my letter appears below. Read more
Thank you very much for your interest in this thread, and my ongoing adventures as a poet. This project revisits the experiences of the past 20 years for posterity, your entertainment and hopefully some enlightenment as well. This is part 11, and number 15 is the last entry I have outlined. In finishing the series up over the next several weeks, I have a few more stories I hope you’ll enjoy.
The following lines are from An Essay on Man published by Alexander Pope in 1734.
All Nature is but Art, unknown to thee;
All chance, direction, which thou canst not see;
All discord, harmony not understood;
All partial evil, universal good:
And, spite of pride in erring reason’s spite,
One truth is clear, whatever is, is right.
I may never become famous as a result of a poem I’ve written. I reluctantly accepted that probability some time ago, but only after mounting great, concentrated efforts designed to place my poetry within well respected literary publications… most of which failed.
I’ve always been a sincere fan of my mother Lila Darnell’s direct, powerful and stylized creative writing. Through my high school and college educations, exchanges with many other colorful and smart friends and family members, and lifelong exposure to magazines, radio and cable TV broadcasts, I developed a pretty strong sense for good poetry, and where that odd form of writing fits into the world. In my early 20s, I was introduced to the works of Charles Bukowski, who appeared to me as a 360-degree representation of the life of a successful poet… and who wrote books I loved instantly, due to them being so human, approachable, funny, well written and good. Read more