In what turned out to be the last issue of The Denbow Diaspora newsletter I had promised that the next issue would contain a sampling of poetry written by members of the Denbow clan. Well, as you know, shortly after that issue came out I made a decision to cease publication of the newsletter after nearly two decades. The replacement for the newsletter is this blog, and this is the first post to the blog. It took a good deal of preparation to get to this point, as the whole web site needed to be redesigned into a blog-centric one. It’s still a work-in-progress, but things have advanced sufficiently that I’m now in a position to write blogs and post them to the website. You’ll notice that each blog has space at the bottom for comments. Please make comments and then feel free to comment on other’s comments. You’d be surprised at how much additional useful information can be acquired through this type of dialogue.
Let me add that I’m not making any value judgments as to the worth or literary excellence of any of the poems presented here, though I have my personal favorites. I’ll leave it for the reader to decide what’s a “classic gem” and what’s “doggerel.” I will hasten to add, though, that poems which critics call doggerel are often my favorites. Among my favorites are simple poems like Ogden Nash’s little verse about billboards (from memory): “I think that I shall never see a billboard as lovely as a tree; perhaps, if the billboards do not fall, I may never see a tree all.” So, my personal taste in poetry is not all that “high brow”!
Ok, enough of the preliminaries, let’s get to the heart of the matter and explore the world of Denbow poetry. First, I’d like to present a poem written by Elmer Forrest Denbow, affectionately known as “Uncle Bob” to his relatives near and far. My own father (Carl H. Denbow) corresponded with Uncle Bob over many, many decades, and I’m lucky enough to have a few of those old letters. In one of them I discovered that Uncle Bob, a single man, had given my father some funds to help with my college education and that of my siblings. Uncle Bob had a heart of gold. Here is a poem he wrote about his adopted state of Arizona:
This was not the only poem that Uncle Bob wrote. Here is another one, in a more serious vein, it’s entitled, “Life’s a Funny Proposition, After All.” It kind of reminds me of the Book of Lamentations in the Bible:
Another Denbow poet is Harold Sinclair Denbow. The poems that I have of his were sent to me by Garren Snyder of Zanesville, Ohio. Her husband, Gail, is the great-grandson of Harold Sinclair. This poem, which doesn’t have a title, was dedicated to Mrs. Elizabeth McAbee on her 68th birthday in 1943. It’s a little more hopeful in outlook than the lamentations of Uncle Bob (the writing on the bottom of the sheet is Garren’s):
Finally, I’d like to add two poems by my father, Carl H. Denbow. The first is a very short poem, entitled “Alone,” which kind of echoes the sentiments of Uncle Bob. The second one is much more poignant and strikes a hopeful cord at the end, but it may take more than one reading to grasp its deeper meaning. Here’s the first:
This next one, as mentioned above, is more symbolic and harder to grasp the meaning of than the other more literal poems. When my father first gave me and each of my sisters a copy of this poem we didn’t know what to make of it. It was very puzzling. Over the years, each of us has found something in it that we didn’t see upon first reading. I hope that you find it of interest:
Again, please feel free to add your own submissions to this compilation of Denbow poetry. Poetry from members of the Denbo clan also welcome! — CJD