April, like every month of the year, is already spoken for by some organization or cause. According to Wikipedia, April has been claimed by school libraries, sexual assault awareness, Confederate history, autism awareness, financial literacy, Earth awareness and math awareness.

And the Academy of American Poets, in 1996, declared April as National Poetry Month.

They state, “The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media – to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.”

As an amateur poet, I am proud that I have achieved local notoriety as well as a taste of celebrity from some various media and organizations throughout the country. My poems, “I Held the Flag Today,” “I Watched Them Go,” “Please Play Taps for Me,” and “There’s a Memorial In Kansas City” are still being read and requested from my two books of patriotic stories and poems.

Alfred Lord Tenneyson, a poet laureate of the United Kingdom, is my favorite poet. So many of his famous verses come to mind, but the one with the most powerful message for mortals who care and love someone comes from his famous poem “In Memoriam,” when he penned, “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

From “The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam” comes this query, “Strange is it not? That of the myriads who before us passed the door of darkness through, not one returns to tell us of that road, which to discover we must travel too.”

“For all sad words of tongue and pen the saddest are these – It might have been,” John Greenleaf Whittier lamented.

Edna St. Vincent Millay boasted, “My candle burns at both ends; it will not last the night but ah, my foes, and oh, my friends – It gives a lovely light!”

“Be not the first by whom the new are tried, nor yet the last to lay the old aside,” advised Alexander Pope.

And the bard equal to Tennyson’s popularity and talent is William Shakespeare, who gave us so many poems, plays and tragedies and Hamlet, who said, “To be or not to be. That is the question.”

To my peers and aspiring poets have a great creative month. Everyone’s a poet, so start writing.

I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.

Jerry Plantz lives in Lee’s Summit. His website is at www.Jerryplantz.com. Reach him at jerryplantz@msn.com.