LT / First encounter

12:00:00 AM

I got exposed to literature at a very young age. When I was in the first grade, I was selected by my adviser, Ms. Entierro, to represent our class in a poetry recitation contest. Every day after school for about a month, I'd spend thirty minutes with Mrs. David, the school's speech coach, and she drilled me until I had memorized Maltbie D. Babcock's This is My Father's World. 
He's the man
(photo from the internet)
I didn't realize then that my competition piece was actually a well-known Christian song in the US. I didn't even understand what it really meant then; I merely focused on memorizing the words instead of understanding them. It's only now, twenty years later, that I'm realizing how beautiful it is:

This is my Father’s world,

And to my list’ning ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres.
This is my Father’s world:
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas—
His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world:
The birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white,
Declare their Maker’s praise.
This is my Father’s world:
He shines in all that’s fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass,
He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world:
Oh, let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world,
The battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.

I didn't know then that I would grow up to be a writer, and that I'd even get one of my poems published. Like I said, I didn't take the piece as seriously as I did the competition (I won, by the way). But I guess this was a very good start, because by the time I was in the fifth grade, I was reading the works of William Henley, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Barrett-Browning, and Edgar Allan Poe. In high school, I dabbled with Shakespeare, and when I hit college, I explored more experimental poetry from local writers.

So thank you, Ms. Entierro, and Mrs. David, for the early push.


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