The sweetest thing happened on Friday night at the Urban Legends Poetry Slam.
I performed my poem “Butterfly Tales” in the first round and it went well! So well that I placed second place in the slam, right behind Open Secret. Winning would have been nice, after all it is a competition and why not want to win? But second place felt pretty sweet. Mostly because I did what it was in my control to do: drop the piece like it’s hot and sit down with none of it left inside. So second was alright by me and perhaps even fuelled me a little to keep going hard.
Then something happened to add a strawberry on top of my high. After the show, a woman came up to me and told me that I had started a trend because after my poem, at least three people mentioned butterflies in theirs. Then she said “I drew something for you” and handed me a piece of looseleaf ripped in half and then folded in half. Inside was a drawing of a butterfly. Above it, it said “word of the night: butterfly” and on the back were the words “thank you.”
This woman (probably my age) not only came to tell me that she liked my poem but took the time to pull out paper and pen and draw and give it to me. It was so honest, sweet and simple. She actually said it was okay if I didn’t keep it. How could I not keep it?
Her gesture reminded me of how much it means to make the little effort and do nice things for random people. Many of us think “wouldn’t it be nice if I did this” but we don’t really do it because we think it won’t matter or that it’s silly. But this world is full of lonely people, people who need encouragement and people who just enjoy simple connections with other human beings. So it does matter. For me, after receiving the drawing, I almost felt like I had won first place.
Poetry is a way for people to share their talent, emotions, thoughts and thought processes. It also lets people who don’t know each other at all to connect with one another.
We need to maintain the culture of connecting with one another in the midst of a dominant culture that encourages unhealthy independence from and indifference to one another.
And we need to draw each other pictures of butterflies.