I Wuz Just Thinking: Making Life Rhyme

Several of us were invited to read our poetry aloud, and my poem, “My First Grandchild,”  brought tears to many in attendance.

My mind recently drifted back many years to the birth of our first grandchild. I wrote a poem about the event.

I entered the poem into the Rusk County Poetry Society contest.  I do not remember the man’s name, but he was the owner/editor of the Henderson Daily News.  I had never met him, yet he came over to our table, introduced himself, and sat down.

He told me that he judged my poem.  He stated how touching it was and the many times he read and re-read it.  He then read another person’s poem, read mine again, over and over again, he read each.  He then read both poems to his wife….comparing the specific guidelines, each word, punctuation, to the very fine details.

Betty Mahurin Baker

He stated he really thought my poem was a first division rating for content and how it had really touched his and his wife’s hearts.  He said the other person’s poem met more of the finer points of detail, and he had to give the first place award to someone else. He said it was the most difficult decision that he has ever had to decide in judging poetry contests.

Even as he was telling me that, his eyes were tearing up.

The other person’s poem did win first place, which I definitely understood.  I had not been writing poetry and was surprised that my first poem even rated a second-place award.

At this banquet, the awards were given out and several of us were invited to read our poetry aloud to the large group.  The reading of my poem, “My First Grandchild,”  brought tears to many in attendance.

Receiving the second place award encouraged me to write more poetry.  It was during our struggling years financially with six boys to feed and clothe. I would find different contests where financial awards were given. Most ran anywhere from about $15 on up.  I would read the topics and rules, some were strict and some free verse. If the subject happened to be Texas history, I would get one of the boy’s school books, read the story, and set it up in poetry stanza.

The earnings for my poems came in small amounts, but each time it was just the right amount of money we needed. 

A Letter to My First Grandchild
“Sarah Elizabeth” is the name I gave you,
No one knows this name but me.
My first grandchild, you were given away
But you’re in my thoughts each day.
My prayers are for you, my darling
That you are happy and well
Loved and adored by your “parents”, new
Whether Christian, atheist, or Jew.
My arms will never hold you
My ears will not hear your cries
You laughter is shared in a home somewhere,
At times, the hurt, so hard to bear.
Our spirits can never be stolen,
We are too close, always to share
Our thoughts and our feelings which will always exist
If known only by the air.


I Wuz Just Thinking. . .


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