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My Life as a Poet

Updated on November 19, 2020
TessSchlesinger profile image

Tessa Schlesinger has been a writer since birth. She was published early, is opinionated, and, in her 7th decade, still continues to write.

My Life as a Poet Started Young.

My first poem was about cowboys and indians. It rhymed beautifully, but it didn't make any sort of sense. That's the perogative of a five year old, I suppose. This was my second poem written somewhere between six and seven years old.

Mummy is so charming
But she needs a lot of calming
She always calls me Tessie Bear
And I wonder if she ever will care.

She has a lot of jewels so rare
And if I touch them she will swear
And say "They're not really meant for you.
"Go and find something else to do."

Me, at 10 or 11 years old.
Me, at 10 or 11 years old.

Writing as Young Poet

I wrote this when I was ten and it was later published when I was about twelve. The teacher had asked us to try our hand at poetry for a speech class. She asked me, after she had read it, if she could have a copy and read it to kids at other schools.

The Classroom
Some people think school is a horrible place
To tell the truth, it's not exactly my taste.
The teacher says, "Now all be quiet and sit down,
"And, Sharon, take off that nasty frown.
"June, stop that terrible chat,
"Or I'll be bound to eat my hat.
"Bernadette, stop that silly giggling,
"And class, for goodness sake, stop wriggling."
And after a few months of your stay,
You'll be bound to home and say,
"All that teacher can do is shouting and preaching,
"Instead of just talking and teaching."

During my teen years, I wrote poetry as my school head teacher forbade me to write for the newspapers anymore.
During my teen years, I wrote poetry as my school head teacher forbade me to write for the newspapers anymore.

In my tenth year at school, I started writing a lot of poetry. Exodus was a homework assignment in which we were to compose a sonnet. I received an A and a comment from our English teacher that the poem was very, very good. Precious words for a budding poet! I wrote Signifcance as a fifteen or sixteen year old while contemplating my life in the world.

Slaughter the lamb, bring unleavened bread
And bitter spices. Eat fast, or instead
Those of you with my blood, and I
(We must leave tonight) will die.
The rooms stand unfamiliar and cold,
Like the day we first entered them - bold.
There is no fire, except in our hearts,
Where hope outlives the distant parts.

Let Pharoah follow us. Let him be
Brave to drive us back to slavery.
Don't we always get saved by one
Who walks amongst the Nebulam?

We, used to pain, have made ourselves strong,
But, Lord, how many years must we wander along?

Compare this town to the earth.
Compare this earth to the universe.
Compare me, a little thing at birth.
Could I, an individual, be worse,
In thinking that I have the right
To be compared with all this might?

My twenties were spent having a broken heart which was mostly the topic in my poetry.
My twenties were spent having a broken heart which was mostly the topic in my poetry.

The Poems Below Were Written in My Early Twenties

After school, the affairs of the heart began. When I felt intense emotion, rather than writing prose, I resorted to poetry. I think the intense focus of putting meaning to rhyme and rhythm in some way calmed me.

Love is such a vital part of all our lives. Many of us search for it for most of our lives. Sometimes, we think we have found it, and we get married, have children, and enjoy our love. Then, one day, we find that our partner just doesn't feel the same way anymore. Other times, we fall in love with someone else and we think that they are in love with us. However, at some point, we discover that it was rather more onesided, with our side having being the one that was more inlove.

That's what the poem is about below. It's about loving and losing and then setting out again to find another love.

Traveling on an ancient cart
Searching for a friendly heart
Saw a pretty girl
Dance a lively whirl
Met her eye
She said hi
She spent the night
A pretty sight
In the morning she went home
And I was left again alone
Traveling on that ancient cart
I nurse my lonely weeping heart.

The poem below was written after the loss of someone I have never forgotten. We met again (for a few hours) when I was in my late 30s, and I asked him what he had felt for me. He said, "I would have married you, but you didn't seem interested."

Cry of Love
Eyes slowly fill with tears,
My heart cries out.
Who knows my fears,
What the pain is all about.

If this is love, what’s hate?
Hurt pride? Spurned care?
It’s a similar fate.
You know it? Then beware.

Taking a Break!

For a long time, from about my early 30s through to my early 50s, I didn't write poetry. I got married, had a daughter, got divorced, was the sole breadwinner, and poetry didn't pay. I wrote other things. Letters to the editor in both South Africa and the UK are paid for. I was lucky that my letters were always chosen as the winner, and so I made quite a bit with those letters. My biggest 'prize' ever was two cartons of top notch wine which a sold for a pretty price.

I think, also, I felt somewhat ashamed of writing poetry. Nobody seemed to have the intense feelings that I had about it, and so I thought not to write anymore of it.

My First Song Written to Music!

While attending a creative seminar for film producers, musicians, actors, and writers in Houston, Texas, a musician said he was looking for a song writer. I asked him about it and sent this to him. He told me that songs had to be written to a particular metre. So it was a dud, but I still liked it.

Ballad for a Beauty Queen
Her Mama told her to be clean
So she could be a beauty queen
She was the cutest teen
I’d ever seen
With bod so hot and eyes so green.

When she was one and twenty,
We connected and spoke plenty.
We spent nights so long
Doing nothing wrong
Driving round in my old Bentley.

At thirty one, she had three boys,
Leaving me without my toys.
So I went out on the town
Cause she’d lost her beauty crown
And found myself some other joys.

At forty, she was foul and fat
Worn out from her mother hat
I yelled at her in our ‘talk’
Grabbed my things and did a walk,
Like many a man, a faithless rat!

A decade later, I saw a beauty queen,
An older woman with a sheen.
She was the prettiest lady I’d ever seen
With bod so hot and eyes so green,
You can guess. I was keen.

I looked again and saw my wife
Smiling sweetly, full of life,
A happy, sexy woman now.
I gasped out loud with a wow.
Sorry for my previous strife.

These days I see the beauty queen
The sexiest lady I’ve ever seen
With bod so hot and eyes so green
A 50s mama full of life
Who once used to be my wife.

You could say I’m a sorry man
Who belatedly became a fan
Of a red hot mama beauty queen.
With bod so hot and eyes so green
My ex wife's no has-been.

With bod so hot and eyes so green,
My ex wife's no has-been.

In my 50s, somewhere along the line, I started writing poetry again. I'm not quite sure why. I just noted that at times of intense emotion, poetry was a better expression of what I felt than prose.
In my 50s, somewhere along the line, I started writing poetry again. I'm not quite sure why. I just noted that at times of intense emotion, poetry was a better expression of what I felt than prose.

Expressing Frustration Through Poetry

I never understood men, and I particularly hated being called sexy or being picked up. I am, I suppose, a bit of a prude, old fashioned, expecting formal introductions. Sometimes I wrote in anger. This particular poem was written in my late 50s after a particularly persistent man tried to pick me up at Starbucks.

Pick Up Girl
You asked me a question out of the blue
I answered though I didn’t know you
You kept me talking and I became rude
Because your intrusion changed my mood.

As you continued, I began to fume,
It was impertinent of you to assume
That you had a right to intrude on my night
Just because I caught your sight.

I don’t like to talk to strangers
I’m well aware of the dangers
Call me old fashioned, if you will
but I prefer a formal introduction still.

Me, taken between Christmas 2016 and New Year 2017. Now I'm an old woman and I'm comfortable wit writing poetry at last!
Me, taken between Christmas 2016 and New Year 2017. Now I'm an old woman and I'm comfortable wit writing poetry at last!

At 65, I'm Finally Understanding Poetry in My Life

It's one of those strange quirks of fate that now as I am an old woman, I finally understand how much I love poetry. I have published two other poems on hubpages. They are Waking Up to War and Nuclear Power in an Earthquake Zone.

Why do I love writing poetry?

I love words, I guess. I feel them and love to put them into an order that makes them even more beautiful. I think I have loved words for a lifetime, and I can't explain that to you. So while writing poetry is not profitable, it does something deep inside me, and I've realized that at the heart of my secret self lies a poet!

© 2017 Tessa Schlesinger


Submit a Comment
  • Ashish Dadgaa profile image


    4 years ago


    Very nicely written poems.

    Excellent writing.

    Bless you.

  • Coffeequeeen profile image

    Louise Powles 

    4 years ago from Norfolk, England

    The poetry is lovely You've certainly got a talent. And I love the photographs too.


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