The Woodstock Poems: Enjoy Woodstock

A friend had suggested writing abecedarian poems as an exercise. Print the alphabet down the side of the page as the first letter for each line, then quickly fill in the rest with spontaneity be your guide. By the time I remembered to try it, I’d already made a mistake, printing the title down the side to make an acrostic poem, instead. In truth, I knew nothing about either form. But for several weeks on a writing retreat in Maine I filled up envelops with acrostic poems for fun over morning coffee before turning to the real work at hand.

After my retreat I was due to join a reading for my friend, Michael Perkins, at the Woodstock Library for his latest book. As a gift, I write an envelope poem, “Michael Perkins Poet,” which I took the time to revise from initial gibberish into a meaningful piece. Alas, he broke his hip a week before the event, so I brought him a framed copy in the hospital, where the poem remained by his bedside, the best gift I could have offered. In the past I’ve burned out on writing poems because the world is so indifferent to poetry. Rather than writing for the world, I thought, why not write for my friends?

Soon afterward, I brought copies of The Pocket Guide to Woodstock by Michael Perkins and myself to a gift shop in the village, where the manager asked me to sign them, which I was happy to do. “Enjoy Woodstock!” followed by my signature. “Enjoy Woodstock!” five times over. By the time I finished I was itching to try the phrase as an acrostic poem. The result surprised me. Maybe I should try to write all of Woodstock into a poem?

Enjoy Woodstock

Enter a
Nation without a name.
Join the
Occupation of
Yelling with ridiculous joy.

We all need
Other versions of
Don’t believe the
Shadows or the
Certainty can
Kill your crazy dreams.

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