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Intro: This one has a fun history. Formal education was never part of my path, so I never actually studied the art, style, and “right or wrong” of writing. I just wrote. I wrote naturally, without having studied the masters, without reading the works of other great writers and poets. However, as I entered my mid-twenties, I began to discover a natural appreciation for certain writers of past and present. During that time, I also came across a Writing Contest sponsored by Writer’s Digest. The contest assignment was to write an acrostic (another style I’d never tried), based on your favorite poet. I then turned to my books and read a whole bunch of Longfellow, connecting to the words in a way I never had. I drank them like water. When I wrote this piece, I did my best to capture not only his exact style in rhythm and meter, but also to project the essence of what Longfellow was trying to say through the majority of his poetry. Did I succeed? Well, not well enough to win the contest, but well enough to make myself quite happy with the results.

“Precious Gift”
Written by:
Wendi Friend
2001

“Look not mournfully into the past. It comes not back again. Wisely improve the present. It is thine. Go forth to meet the shadowy future, without fear.” -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow-

Life, make no mistake, is a precious gift
Of joyous bliss and pain.
Never ending lessons, some long, some swift;
Great chance for each to gain
Faith in one’s self, courage, abundant strength,
Endurance, peace within.
Life will insist that you go to great lengths
Learning where to begin.
Open your heart to life; hard, sweet and swift.
What a wonderful gift.

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