By Barbara L. Eikner Thompson, poet and writer
National Poetry Month was established in April of 1996 by the Academy of American Poets and Poets organization, to honor those poets who told the stories, who saw the world through eyes and hearts full of various emotions and whose paths were not created by man but by the moving force of the universe.
I have always been exposed to poetry since my oldest brother and sister came home from kindergarten with their poems in hand.
Poetry was a key element in an educational system that I fully participated in and that sadly no longer exists. Poetry helps students learn to read, write, think creatively and be their own selves. I have been writing for decades, and here’s one I’d like to share with you.
By Barbara L. Eikner
I am here because I was protected
Protected by prayers
Protected by songs
Protected by tears
Protected by words soft and strong
Protected by hands of soldiers and feet that have never seen battle
Protected by a person driven by fear and made up of courage
Protected by the love seen and unseen
Protected by people who were not family but did not know it
Protected by eyes that did not sleep and voices that did not speak
Protected by the living and the dead
Protected by a small green gate between me and the world,
That I so badly wanted to open and fly away.
All rights reserved to author
This poem, Protection, was a reminder for me that there are times when people are looking out for you/us and we don’t know it. Times when we feel someone does care and we can’t name him or her or it. Times when we really want to get away and not realize that getting away can be dangerous if we are not wrapped in the wings and arms of someone who loves and cares for us. This poem came to me as I set on my mother’s porch in 2019, now a mother and grandmother myself looking back and being grateful. Remembering all the people who protected me, known and unknown, and how I must do the same for children, mine and someone else’s.
Barbara Eikner Thompson is a contributor to Art Focus Magazine of the Oklahoma Visual Artist Coalition, The Oklahoma Eagle, Downtown Tulsa News, New Baptist Herald, Winston-Salem Chronicle, Tulsa Star, The Aurora, Sisterspeak, Zine Issue# 6 Jan 2017 and others. Served as journalist for the National Council of Negro Women, Edited and established newsletters for Sigma Gamma Rho: The Torch, We Sing in Chorus, Down to Business (2009), and served as Southwestern Regional Public Relations Chairperson. Edited and established newsletters for Mt Zion Baptist Church (Tulsa, Oklahoma) The Voice of Zion, Clement Road Church of God (Columbia, SC.) The Christian Informer, and Zion Baptist (Greensboro, NC). Special guest poet at various venues to include Tulisoma-Dallas, Texas, Libraries, Museum Openings, and community groups. Presents lectures/workshops on women’s issues, financial literacy, motivational and life skills.