Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Poetry about Life

I’ve been spending the majority of my free time over the past few weeks on a couple of projects on the main website. We’ve now taken down our original blog, which was more like a semi-blog with limited interactivity with our readers. The articles are now linked from various other sections according to their subject. Most can be found in our Religion and Culture, Christian Living, or Military and Patriotism sections. We’ll probably also link a few from this blog in the near future.

Next, we’ve finally completed our William "Poet Bill" Childers Poetry section that began about three years ago. Bill had published one book of poetry, Integrity of The Spirit, Escaping The Mind-Game!, and was working on his newest, to be tentatively called Leaves from the Acorn Tree. Unfortunately, health issues delayed, then finally canceled this project, so he graciously gave us the transcripts to publish on our website instead.

I met Poet Bill via one of my best friends, a Dallas Police Officer during the time that Bill was their precinct chaplain. Bill served as a USMC tank gunner in the Korean War before becoming an ordained Minister with the Methodist Church. He then returned to active duty with the US Navy for 21 years, including a year in Vietnam as a Chaplain with the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. After returning home to the First United Methodist Church in Dallas, Bill eventually retired but continued to teach Sunday School, where he often read his poetry and played his guitar. He even wrote a few songs.

Shortly after we met, his health failed and he was placed in assisted living. During my last visit, he told me how he couldn’t understand “the fuss some people made” over his poetry. He never thought of his poetry as anything special. As we talked about our various writings, we discovered a common experience. We both worked hard on many writings of which we were proud, yet they often were met with a ho-hum from readers. At other times, we wrote things out of a “sense of duty” that we didn’t think much of, only to receive glowing feedback from many folks. We could only explain this by God working though our imperfect efforts, proving once again that our works often return void, yet His never do.

After this last visit, I was sorry to hear that Bill was transferred to an out of the area facility, so we lost touch about two years ago. At the time, I had only published a small percentage of his poems. His computer had crashed, and I only had paper copies of the transcripts. I typically won’t publish anything by others on the website without reading it first. Since I’d never developed an appreciation for poetry, and didn’t know much about it (other than the Hebrew poetry of the Bible), I started to break my rule by scanning and running OCR software on the poems. I’m now very glad I didn’t. By re-typing them, I was able to read them in depth and discover many additional details about Bill since he wrote extensively of his life within his poetry.

Poet Bill wrote stories about his life, his friends, his family, his military service and so much more. I was very blessed to know him, even for a very short time. Yet, for those who knew him, it almost seems as if he’s still here every time we read one of his poems. We are very proud to publish Bill’s poetry and hope they bless our readers as much as they have us.

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