Refrigerator Magnet Poetry
Someone dumped a large bunch of these refrigerator magnets on a white-board wall we had at work (in front of my office). For a week or two, people would put up a sentence or quip, daily. It was an amusing distraction. Then one day, I had an incredible mind moment, and wrote out a poem with the words available. It sort of spoiled it: as no one ever touched the magnet words after that.
One morning I came in feeling a bit melancholy at some people putting ego and the now, ahead of thinking things through (looking at the bigger picture and longer term). Basically they wanted me to drive my team harder than I was (use the stick instead of the carrot), and I was frustrated at their inability to see that they are the sum of their actions. I wanted to pull the team instead of push them. Inspire them with enthusiasm and lead by example, not harangue them into producing more. So like a scene out of beautiful mind, the words on the board, just made sentences and a sentiment. I put the following magnets together in about 10 minutes:
Life is like a cold breath whispering in winter morning
I don't know if that is very profound. But it captured a moment for me, and feeling. Just abject sadness at those not getting the shortness of our lives, being able to look inside themselves, or empathize with the people around them.
It killed the white-board. No one touched it again.
I don't know if they just felt unable to match that, or the statement brought them down. But a few weeks later, I just covered my little poem in scotch tape to hold it together, and cleaned it all off, since it wasn't getting used. And kept my little poem/vent.
I never really tried my hand at poetry again. That had said what I wanted to at the time. I'm not sure I have any other poignant things to say, that I want to say in prose. (I prefer to write conversationally). Also, I think there's the fear that with an unlimited vocabulary, I can't say anything profound in the medium of poetry.
So one of the more interesting things to me, was that I always felt that limiting my word choices, expanded my vocabulary. I doubt I could have expressed that, without the limitation of words in front of me. The constraint of a few magnets/words, freed me from the bonds of near limitless choices.