As someone who loves words and finds them endlessly fascinating, I enjoy sounds and word length and the playful ways in which I can use words. Looking through some older books, I came across a poem I had written in 1986 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Arkansas statehood. I remember this celebration was a significant event for the state of Arkansas and encompassed a year-long schedule of events.
I’m told there are also events going on currently (that carry through the year 2015) to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. This was news to me, though there’s a website to keep one clued in on the latest events and information. Though I don’t think I’d qualify as a Civil War expert, this period of our nation’s history holds great interest for me. Still, I’m not sure whether Americans feel entirely comfortable in celebrating this unfortunate conflict. Maybe that’s why the anniversary has gone unpublicized (or maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know about it?).
Anyway, back to the Arkansas sesquicentennial … the poets and writers group in which I participated at the time decided we needed to do our part in marking the occasion. Every member was encouraged to write a poem on the subject and bring it to the next meeting. (Usually, we read our pieces aloud.) I think certain poems may even have been submitted to the state commission for publication consideration during the year of celebration.
I have to admit, this kind of celebration doesn’t normally excite me. Overall, I’m pretty low-key and I simply wasn’t prepared to wax eloquent about Arkansas events or Arkansas people or the usual propaganda (if you will) one might find on an Arkansas travel brochure. Consequently, my approach to the poem didn’t match the expressions of praise and wonder and admiration for Arkansas that my peers created.
But my poem was fun to write! As soon as I learned sesquipedalian was a word that meant someone given to using long words, that was the poem I knew I must write! The word matched perfectly with sesquicentennial and while it was hardly a prizewinning poem, it suited me just fine. I share it below.