Even though he’s a writing student of mine, I can’t take complete credit for Charlie Schwab’s success. When I met him, Charlie was 89 years old, the active and knowledgeable Business Manager of our local Senior Center. Having only recently started writing poetry, he had already given a couple of public readings of his work.
What I can (and do) take credit for is having successfully nagged him to submit his writing for publication and to make his poems available to the public. Now, his work has been published in the Arlington Advocate, the PKA Advocate of Prattsville, N. Y. (“Graying”); WestWard Quarterly Magazine of Hamilton, Ill.(“Tea and Sunbeams” and “Requiem”); and Connotation Press online (“Reflections of a Nonagenerian”).
J.P. Reese of Connotation Press wrote about Charlie’s work “..Insightful, fresh and humorous (in a slightly grim and pragmatic way).”
I wrote the introduction to Charlie’s first collection of poetry, Keeping Account. Now he’s about to publish his second book of poetry, The Act of Free Falling.
Below is what Charlie says about his work. The poem at the end is one of my very favorites.
I find poetry writing rewarding because it enables me to express my thoughts about and reaction to the human/natural world, from news reports to animal behavior and the changing seasons. Many of these ideas are not fully formed unless I write them down.
Secondly, I like working out the rhythm, rhyme, alliteration and word play involved. And, finally, I value the satisfaction I get from working intensely at a craft.
I suppose I’m trying to comment on my life and human life in general, especially daily happenings, from the vantage point of a long and varied life. I would hope that readers of my poems might grasp some of the humor and irony in them.
To others who want to try their hands at writing poetry I’d say, “Find your own interest and style, possibly through joining a poetry or creative writing class. At any rate, sit down and do it.”
– C. Schwab
by Charles Schwab
In the work I did I kept account
Of balances that fall and mount,
But counting comes in many guises –
Each time I count the number rises.
In Concord they’re counting the butterflies;
How much does it count if a species dies?
We are apt to count sheep if unable to sleep;
The awake shepherd dog knows to count his keep.
Counting on fingers was how we were taught;
Computers are now counted on for the lot.
Astronomers strain to count the stars;
Four-star generals generally count in wars.
The Challenger was poised for a lift-off count down,
As the champion, down for the count, lost a crown.
A bard of love wished to count the ways,
While servicemen’s loved-ones count the days.
Every vote counts, the national pols claim,
But when the vote’s counted, they’re not all the same.
Count your calories and you might live longer;
Counting your blessings may make you stronger.
Long, long ago I stopped counting each year;
Not to have my life count is what I now fear.
See more of Charlie’s poems on his website.