When it comes to positive attitude and uplifting poetry, it is hard to beat MICHAEL GROVE. It is our pleasure to feature this true gentleman, whose poetry first caught Walt’s and my eye during Robert Lee Brewer’s Poetic Asides 2011 April Poem-a-Day Challenge.
Mike chose two poems to share with us.
NEVER TOO BUSY
Never too busy to say I love you,
or reach out with an open hand.
Never too busy to rise above,
or to take a righteous stand.
I’m not talking self-righteous
if that is what you heard.
I’m talking about doing the right thing,
and speaking a peaceful word.
I’m talking about loving everyone,
every single day.
I’m saying don’t harbor resentments
or live to make someone pay.
Never too busy to hear the word
amidst the mindless chatter.
Forgiveness and love are the answers.
The questions don’t even matter.
BY THE HAND
You were given great gifts
now your mission is to share.
Open up your soul
and give to others all that’s there.
A blessed act of kindness
is the purest way to start
and the greatest gift that you can give
from deep within your heart.
Take them by The Hand
and you will surely see,
the Grace that you’ve been given
and all you were meant to be.
~ ~ ~
MARIE ELENA: As I read your selections, Mike, my head nodded in agreement. These pieces epitomize the “positive and uplifting” nature I mentioned above. Here is the first of two poems I selected. It is quite different from your own choices.
Much fresh air was sorely needed.
The good advice was never heeded
Too many walls were in the way.
Then windows came for light of day.
But panes of disappointment grew.
Grab the stone and throw it thru.
No time to open up the sash.
A bigger rock, the pane will smash.
Just leave the fragments on the floor,
to cut your feet forever more.
Your blood must shed for truth to find.
Your feet are farthest from your mind.
~ ~ ~
MIKE: Lots of poems have been written by many poets about healing. Looking at this older one, it utilizes windows, glass, walls, fresh air, rocks and blood to make a point. I am certain I have used each of these in other poems from time to time, but never all together in one piece. Perhaps because of the title, it reminds me quite a bit of a personal favorite poem of mine, “Trail of Broken Glass,” which will be published in the anthology collection, “Beyond The Dark Room.”
MARIE ELENA: Sharp observations from a caring soul. Not surprisingly, you feature a Maya Angelou quote on your Facebook page. “They will forget what you looked like or what you said, but they will not forget how you made them feel.”
MIKE: This is such an important quote to me because I believe that the human experience is all about our relationships with others. This quote is not so different than the philosophy of Poetic Bloomings … to nurture and support one another. People do remember how you make them feel and I want everyone in my life to feel good.
MARIE ELENA: This is one of my favorite quotes as well, and I like the parallel you draw. Thank you!
You recently became a host at Flashy Fiction. Congratulations! How did that come about?
MIKE: It was about three months ago that Walt asked me to take on hosting one day a week.
MARIE ELENA: How fun! We learned a bit about that from Hannah Gosselin, but I’d love to hear your own “take” on it.
MIKE: I enjoy coming up with a new prompt each week and try to get as creative as I can with the prompts. I have been working on a semi-fiction novel on and off for about eight months. I have titled it, “A Very Rude Awakening.” I started writing poetry in grade school at about the age of ten. I continued writing a little here and there until I turned thirty-seven, when I became very passionate about writing poetry on a consistent basis.
I still don’t write a lot of short fiction, but Flashy Fiction has had me writing a bit more prose poetry than I have in the past. I’d have to estimate that somewhere around 90 to 95 percent of my poems are either in-form or written with rhyme and meter. I’m just more comfortable writing that way, although I do realize the restrictions and limitations that strict syllable counts and rhyming put in place.
Both poetry and short fiction writing are emotional releases for me. Poetry just seems to come easier for me, and I enjoy creating something where I can also hear a melody in my head. It seems like I can sing a lot of my poems. I sure wish I had more musical talent.
MARIE ELENA: I can’t resist sharing one more poem of yours. I remember this one. It impressed me then, and still does.
on a thread
of the post
holding a gear
in a clock
on a shelf
in a room
of a mansion
at the end of the road
on a hill far away
can be replaced
by a nut.
~ ~ ~
MIKE: We are all a very tiny piece of a much larger picture. This simple poem speaks to the relative insignificance of each of us.
You have selected two poems that I wrote during the April 2011 PAD Challenge at Poetic Asides. That was a very special time in my poetic growth. Fortunately for me I was semi-unemployed in April 2011 and was able to commit a great deal of my time to writing poetry during that challenge. At the present time, I am busier in my work as operations manager of HomeLoans, than I have been in the past three or four years. It is getting in the way of poeming. Funny how the things we must do seem to get in the way of the things we want to do.
MARIE ELENA: They certainly do. My best work is conceived of two parents: time and inspiration.
Mike, I’d like to steer this interview in a slightly different route than I have previous interviews. There are words that come to my mind when I think of you. Just for a moment, I’d like to toss those words your direction, and have you react to them.
MIKE: Great idea Marie. I like being a little different from everyone else.
MARIE ELENA: Excellent! Let’s start with POSITIVE.
MIKE: I have always felt that attitude is everything. Everyone faces difficult challenges from time to time in their lifetime. We all get knocked down. I am no different. Life is about how we get back up. I suppose it is a combination of a quality that I possess and something that I have had to work at. The glass is always full. Even if it is half water and half air.
MARIE ELENA: It looks like you just covered OPTIMISTIC. 😉
Another word that comes to mind when I think about you is: HOPELESS ROMANTIC. Okay, that’s two words – but am I right?
MIKE: I prefer to think of myself as a hopeful romantic.
MARIE ELENA: Ah yes. You would think of it that way!
MIKE: I love love, and being in love. I have been both lucky and unlucky in love. I have only been married once. The crippling effects of a terrible disease, multiple sclerosis, caused my ex-wife to divorce me 14 years ago, as she puts it, to set me free. No one is to blame. We remain friends and both of us have the best interests of our children at heart.
MARIE ELENA: That’s amazing, Mike. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard of anything quite like it. How wonderful that you have been able to remain friends. MS is a horrible disease, and I wish her well.
I see you were able to find love again. Tell me about the woman in the photo, if you will.
MIKE: That beautiful woman is my soul mate and life partner, Jana. I am her calming effect, and she really brightens up my life. She is one of the most optimistic and bubbliest people I have ever met. Jana is a very caring “people-person,” and always sees the positive in everything. She is a huge fan of my poetry. She is also my favorite and greatest muse. I am so in love with Jana.
MARIE ELENA: She sounds absolutely lovely.
MIKE: This past year has been great for us, although in years past we have been through some rocky times. We are working through the issues which have kept us from living together and getting married. We are headed in that direction. It is silly stuff related to real estate, her place/my place, children still living at home, pets, adequate space, etc. The economy has not helped us in these efforts, but we are getting there.
MARIE ELENA: You mentioned Jana is a “huge fan” of your poetry. I’m sure all of us here can appreciate what that means to you … which brings me to your next word: POETRY. Perhaps that seems a bit silly, but I have sensed from the start that poetry plays a little larger role in your life than it does even for the average poet. I feel this way about Walt, and I feel this way about you. Is that an accurate assessment?
MIKE: I’d have to say that writing poetry is not just something that I like to do, but something I feel that I am supposed to do. I believe that I have been blessed with a gift and I am very thankful for that. I have a pretty natural sense of rhyme and timing. Sometimes, I feel like I have an ability to see the world through other peoples’ eyes, and in a variety of perspectives.
I truly wish I could “just” be a poet, writer and lyricist. I’d love to be able to write and create non-stop, every single day. I really enjoy experimenting with many different poetic forms and writing styles. I look forward to every other Wednesday and the “In-Form Poet” posts. I have the strongest feelings about my works that carry a positive message.
MARIE ELENA: There’s that word “positive” again. I have to wonder if that has at least some rooting in your next word: FAITH.
MIKE: Yes, I am a man of strong faith. I was raised a Christian and hold on tightly to strong Christian values. I believe in the golden rule, and always treating others with respect, kindness, compassion, and love. My faith has kept me going through the difficult times in my life. I must admit that I have struggled with a personal involvement in organized religion at times in the past, but never with my spirituality or beliefs. I joined a local church last year after several years away, and I try to attend as much as is possible at this time. I‘m big on forgiveness and am not fond of guilt. I really strive for inner peace through my belief that all things occur through destiny and grace, and that there is an eternal place in heaven waiting for me. I‘d like to think I have a fairly good understanding of the cross.
MARIE ELENA: Yes – POSITIVE, OPTIMISTIC, HOPEFUL ROMANTIC, POETRY, AND FAITH. Those are words that definitely come to mind when I see your poetry and your interactions with others. Thank you for expounding on these thoughts.
Thank you also for the photos of your children. They are just beautiful! You’ve earned bragging rights.
MIKE: My daughter Courtney is 27. She is a neo-natal intensive care nurse and holds two bachelor of science degrees from Michigan State University. When she was at MSU she was a Spartan cheerleader. Courtney practices yoga and is working toward becoming a yoga instructor. She likes running and has competed in many 5k races. She recently competed in her 1st half marathon. She is in the process of buying a condo in Old Town Lansing.
My son Jordan is 23. He is a full time college student working toward a degree in business management. He wants to be self employed and is working at small landscaping and tree service jobs. His goal is to start a natural foods business where he supplies restaurants and small stores with organic produce and herbs. He would also like to raise tilapia. He likes electronic music, working out, and artistic welding. Jordan bought an old school bus and renovated it into a motor home which he takes out to “Burning Man” festival every year.
MARIE ELENA: They sound like great kids, and I’ll even forgive them for being Spartans. Now, with me being an avid Ohio State Buckeye and you being a staunch Michigan State Spartan, if we went to a game together, would we end up sitting on separate sides? Just kidding … this isn’t a real question. That is, unless you WANT it to be a real question. 😉
MIKE: I’d be willing to sit along side you at a MSU vs. OSU game. I would actually look forward to that. I’ll be wearing green and white for sure and having a hot dog or two.
MARIE ELENA: And I’ll be in my Scarlet and Gray. We’ll look a little like Christmas, Mike! Sounds like great fun, doesn’t it? Too bad they won’t let four-legged friends into the stadium. Your little Jake is so cute! I’ll tell you something that made me grin: You didn’t simply let me know that the photo is of “Jake.” Oh no … as Poet Mike, you had to say, “Jake at the lake.” I just had to laugh. How long have you had him?
MIKE: Jake is my best buddy. I got him on the 4th of July, 1997. He was said to be 2 months old so I have always celebrated his birthday May 4th. He just turned 15. Jake is half dalmatian and half chocolate lab. He has never missed a boat ride and still enjoys playing keep away with a stick. He prefers people food over the bowl on the floor.
MARIE ELENA: Thanks for sharing your family with us.
Now for what could be a tough question. What would you say was your grandest life experience?
MARIE ELENA: My goodness. It looks like the turn of each decade is not your friend. But more importantly, it looks like I can add BIONIC HERO to my word list. It’s also good to see that your heavy metal and rehab obviously worked well, as evidenced by this:
Now, at last, if we could know only one thing about you, what would you want it to be?
MIKE: I consider myself an artist. From 1983 through 1997, architecture was my art. I was a home builder and designed and built around 150 custom, one-of-a-kind energy efficient homes. Since 1997, poetry has been my primary art. I also enjoy photography and keyboard creations.
MARIE ELENA: Thank you for your time and generously open spirit, Mike. We wish you all the best for your writing in every form, be it poetry, flash fiction, novel, or music.
If you are interested in seeing more of Mike’s poetry, feel free to befriend him on Facebook. He keeps a treasure trove there. Check out our “Bookshelf” for a link to “Observations.” (I recommend it!). We also encourage you to join Mike and other Bloomers at Flashy Fiction.