Through the Eyes of a Poet series #2
Changing people’s lives through teaching, mentorship, caring, and yes through POETRY!
Sam H. Arnold has made a lifetime of caring for others through her love of teaching and mentoring. Sam grew up in a small seaside village in the South of England called Dymchurch. She pursued her education in teaching and now resides 20 minutes up the road from where she was born, in the town of Ashford, Kent.
Sam works with students of all ages and with a variety challenges that make it difficult to access mainstream schooling. Sam’s work did not initially lead her in the direction of writing, but I’d argue that the path of empathy that her life has taken is a great catalyst for her writing.
Although Sam’s writing work just started growing in a more professional direction the last few years, I asked her if she could remember when she first began thinking of writing:
I recently found a short story I wrote for my grandad when I was five years old, so I guess I have always written. –Sam H Arnold
I think my response to that is that oftentimes writers, especially poets, may not pay all that much attention to the inner voice that leads us to write. But when we do–it is truly magical.
I invited Sam to join me in an interview about her work, about what inspires her, and about poetry. Please enjoy this brief interview with poet and teacher Sam H. Arnold:
Tell me about the kinds of poetry that you enjoy writing.
I started writing poetry only a year ago. I started with freestyle poetry, I found it was an excellent way to express my feelings. Since then I have started experimenting with different forms of poetry. My favourite at the moment is Haiku.
Tell me about your writing process with regards to writing poetry, specifically.
My poetry is far more personal than much of my other work. For example, I have written about my partners depression and my grandma’s dementia. I have an idea or a line that comes to me. From there I build a poem around it. It can sometimes take me several weeks to come up with a complete poem. Only when it is complete do I look at form and try to alter parts to make it flow better.
Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.
For many years I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that my grandma has dementia. None of the woman I know and love is left. She was also my hero and inspiration as she was a pioneer before her time. Incidentally, the article I wrote about her was one that received the editors choice. During her birthday when I was going through a particularly hard time, a single line came to me. It was the first line of one of my favourite poems. You can find it here: The Dementia of a Soul
The Dementia of a Soul, by Sam H. Arnold
Her soul I know left years ago
the shell remains even though
I cry tears of anger and of woe,
Fly free my wise old owl and go.
A woman so brave and smart
Who helped to stop the UK from falling apart,
Hitler tried to occupy our shore,
Gran stood firm and manned the store.
Amazing woman first of her kind
Area manager when women stayed behind
My hero, I wanted to make her proud,
Her praise a goal of magic sound.
A daughter raised who I call mum
An ear she leant when I was glum
The books we shared through many years,
A love so strong it held no fears.
God I hope you hear my call,
I know my Gran has given all,
I know I mourned her years ago,
Now take her up to her new home.
If you had a piece of advice for other poets, what would that be?
Write what you feel and like, not what structure and form tells you to.
What would you say to people who may not consider poetry to be “their thing?”
For many years I didn’t understand poetry or think it was for me. I could be heard many times saying ‘I just don’t understand how to write poetry.’ Then my partner said to me that poetry was about writing what you want in whatever form you want. I gave it a try and have loved it ever since.
So my advice would be try it only then will you know how much you love it.
One last question, do you define your poetry or does your poetry define you? Why?
My poetry defines me, I never know where a poem will take me and what form it takes. Writing poetry is when I feel most free.
I encourage you to support Sam by following her work. At the end of the article there are some links to her Author’s page, websites, and Newsletter.
Additionally, here is one poem of Sam’s that I’d like to share is called You Don’t See Me. It is a further testimony of Sam’s ability to see people, touch hearts, and bring the reader into the story through poetry. It has such a meaningful message and can serve as a reminder to us all of the people in our lives we do not see.
You Don’t See Me, by Sam H. Arnold (excerpt)
You sit there looking at your phone
You ignore me when I come over to you
You don’t see me when I smile and play
You don’t love me as much as you love your phone
I try to get your attention by climbing
I cry in the hope that you will see me
I throw things to get you to notice me
I know you don’t love me as much as your phone
See the full poem and the deep message of this piece at You Don’t See Me.
Thank you Sam for sharing a bit of your poetic journey with us. I appreciate your ability to put empathy to words and to share it through poetry. People enjoy seeing the humanity in others and can relate to the stories that you share through your work.
If you would like to follow Sam’s journey, read her work, and become a fan, you can find her on the following platforms:
Thank you for reading about this featured poet. I invite you to include poetry in your reading and give this genre a chance to enrich your life. I will be featuring poets on my blog (Author Website), in my newsletter (Author Newsletter), and on my Medium platform (Fiddleheads & Floss Poetry). I welcome you to read about these poets, support them, and perhaps find a poet that brings something very meaningful to your life.
Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger