It has been such a sad summer around here. Within five weeks, we lost a beloved family member, our sweet kitty and now Lee. So many good-byes. So much grief.
Lately, I've been doing a lot of wondering about why things happen the way they do. I haven't written much lately except in my journal, but when I heard about the Poetry Friday tribute to Lee Bennett Hopkins, I knew I wanted to be part of it. Lee played a huge role in my writing life through his anthologies, his poems, and encouragement.
Just imagine my excitement when way back in 1995 Lee called me to discuss using my poems in one of his anthologies. Lee Bennett Hopkins on the phone with me! I remember the two of us laughing a lot, but other than that, I don’t remember much about the conversation. I was in a daze and felt like I was dreaming.
Not long after that, I started getting little handwritten notes from Lee about upcoming projects. I kept every one of those notes. They are treasures! Years later, we corresponded by email. I kept those too and read them whenever I need a boost of encouragement. Not all of the poems I submitted to Lee ended up in his books, but when one did, what a thrill!
The last email I received from Lee said, “Dear One: I’m sorry that your poem had to be dropped from the collection. Please don’t fret too much over this. There will be other times I’ll get you into a collection. I have always loved working with you, Linda, and I look forward to new things coming up in the future. I write with love-ness, Lee”
Those were his last words to me. Lee always knew how to make someone feel like the most special person on the planet. He will forever live on in my heart.
For my tribute poem, I chose the lines ”I sit/alone/on the edge of the bed/wondering” from Lee’s poem “Once More” published in AMERICA AT WAR. It's a poem I have loved since I first read it.
I wrote this poem not only for Lee, but also for all the loved ones I've lost. My poem is very simple, and but it comes from my heart.
for Lee Bennett Hopkins
on the edge of the bed
How does the world
I see your face.
I hear your voice.
fills the air.
So how can it be
that you are not here?
Linda Kulp Trout
Amy is hosting today's Poetry Friday at The Poem Farm with more tributes to the amazing Lee Bennett Hopkins.