Copyright © Gloria Alden. All rights reserved.

     When Robert Frost was once asked to define what poetry is, he gave a flip answer. "Poetry is the kind of thing poets write." Poetry can only be defined by each individual and what it means to them. For me, poetry is like music without the melody. Rhymed or unrhymed, it has meter and rhythm that speaks to me as much as the message conveyed.

     Although I'd read and written some poetry over the years, it wasn't until I entered college in my early forties and took my first English class that I became hooked on reading and writing poetry.

     Many of my ideas come to me on daily walks in the woods in all seasons. That's why so much of my poetry has some theme connected with nature, but just as many have been written about my son, John, and deal with my grief over his death from cancer. When I was sixty, I took up backpacking and loved it. John had backpacked as a Boy Scout and dreamed of moving to mountains in the west. The following poem is one for my son that won a poetry contest.

Our Last Hike

​                                                                                As we hiked together that rocky trail

                                                                                your pack grew heavier.

                                                                                I wanted to take your burden,

                                                                                But we're each assigned our own packs.

                                                                                So we climbed on

                                                                                your pack filled with pain

                                                                                and mine filled with sorrow

                                                                                until the fog lifted a moment
                                                                                to show another trail branching off.

                                                                                You smiled, dropped your pack

                                                                                 and stepping lightly went down that trail

                                                                                 without a backward glance.

                                                                                 I watched you radiant

                                                                                 in October's golden sunshine

                                                                                 until you were out of sight.

                                                                                 Then I hoisted my pack

                                                                                 grown heavier with grief and trudged on

                                                                                 climbing a trail much rockier

                                                                                 without you.