I wrote a poem for a class assignment about my pet snapping turtle when I was seven years old. It was called “Yurtle the Turtle” and I remember how therapeutic it was to write it, because Yurtle had died crossing the street after being set free.
The only lines from the poem I still remember are:
Yurtle the turtle lived in a window well,
Yurtle the turtle was swell.
The strangest thing happened when my book, Rays of Hope in Times of Loss – Courage and Comfort for Grieving Hearts, was about to go to print. I was aware of how frightened I was at the prospect of sharing this book with the world, so full of serious poetry – something I’d never dared to do before. I even wrote about Yurtle and how I’d not written serious poetry since that time, speculating that it must have been because no other poetry assignments had been required.
But the uneasiness I felt was so persistent. I finally asked myself, “Why are you so afraid of this? What is making this fear so intense?” And within a few seconds, it became clear to me from a memory I’d forgotten. It is the rest of the story about Yurtle.