Muscatine High School
Dear David Cameron,
Poetry is defined as "stuffy, fanciful writings by dead guys..." Okay, so that's not what poetry really is, but had you asked me to describe the meaning of poetry a few years ago, you would have received a response similar to this. Although I wouldn't have hesitated to express my disgust of poetry, I wasn't particularly familiar with it either. I avoided it, opting instead to read horror novels offering cheap thrills. For most of my junior high career, I missed out on a great opportunity. I was not able to think or speak through poetry. Instead, I would mindlessly leaf through simple, foolish ghost stories. These scary stories offered no life lessons, no multidimensional ideas, and no personal growth.
After completing your poem "Oh how sad I'll be..." for the first time, I wondered if you had ever felt the same as I did my eighth grade year; poetry is a confining and aged writing form that modern youth cannot relate to. Maybe you too sat in the back of your classroom, daydreaming while unintentionally tuning out your English teacher as she tried to explain the difference between "principal" and "principle." Maybe this daydream resulted in something beautiful. Perhaps these were the first budding images and thoughts of the poem you would write in the near future; the same poem I would eventually come across at a library book sale and read several times over that same day. It's conceivable that for you and me both, this poem was the first strum of a "funky guitar" free from the "gravitational bring-down" that comes with living on an imperfect planet.
I am writing to inform you that you are not alone in your daydreaming. I too have seen these "mad moon jumpers." For much of my life, I had seen only the faintest outline of their moon boots. I was told by parents, teachers, and friends, that my perception was wrong, merely the result of an overactive imagination. For the longest time, I believed what these other people said to be true.
It was not until late one evening, when I first embraced this poem, that I clearly saw a bigger picture. I had been lied to, and I believe you've been lied to, as well. In your poem you express a fear that the secret society of mad moon jumpers does not exist. I am elated to inform you that this is not the case. This society does exist. I myself have seen it within your poem. I have been to this "thinner atmosphere." It is a society of freedom—freedom of expression, freedom of thought, freedom from others, and even freedom from the self.
If you ask me to define poetry now, after reading your poem, I would respond that poetry is anything and everything. It is truthful, enlightening, inspiring—an art with words. It burns your skin, it softens your heart, and electrifies your brain with soft shocks. I am not sure I could say the same had I not read your poem. Without it, I may still believe poetry is irrelevant. Had I not read it, poetry may not have a place in my life.
I would like to give thanks, to you, and the work you have created that has resulted in my own personal growth. Today, when I see myself, I see possibilities. For that, I am grateful.
I will see you on the moon,