Rosemary Valentine

She pulls words from the void expressing them with the eloquence of her soul.  Even in her youth, the pathway of her life, was clarified.  As a native Ohioan born in Springfield, she, her mother and two brothers lived in Yellow Springs until she was two years of age. Her family then moved to Columbus, Ohio which is now her native land.   Her third grade teacher at Clearbrook Elementary first inspired her to write poetry. The following poem for which she received an A, is still inscribed in her heart.

A summer day is bright and gay
Flowers talk in such a way
What they say I do not know
A summer day is bright and gay.

Copyright 2007

When her teacher read the poem to the class, her classmates asked her to write poems for them. With her teacher’s encouragement too, she began to write poetry, everyone of which she saved and placed in a desk she purchased in her twenties. Her boyfriend became upset over their breakup and took the desk with all of her work in it. She cried for hours and has not seen her early work to this day. Rosemary resolved to create even more soulful poems than she’d written heretofore. She took up writing with a vengeance and then just stopped. When interviewed as to why, her response was “I was living life, I suppose.”

Then at the turn of this century, she began writing again every so often to inspire herself. Many of these were affirmations with the first one being called “I Surrender”. When she recited it at a party, someone said, “People need to hear your poems”. She listened. She gathered an understanding of how much it meant to the listeners as she started sharing her poetry to her coworkers. This couldn’t have been easy as her setting at work was dichotomous with her soul felt affirmations. You see, she worked and currently works as a prison guard. That line of work in itself has presented many challenges and causes her to go deep within herself. She refuses to be afraid of anything and calls on God, the Source, Jesus, her ancestors and the universe to find strength. These are all one to her. She eloquently puts it this way: “The breath of life connects us all. The most important heart felt element is love, and our pure and just intent. If I ask for a piece of bread, I shall not receive a stone.”

Her coworkers kept encouraging her and she began writing a book called “If I Could Just Open My Eyes One Time”. She has currently completed and copyrighted volumes one through five with her goal being 12 volumes. Her sister was instrumental in helping her realize that her gift had unusual value by getting her to participate in a poetry slam held at the Hot Times Festival in Columbus, Ohio in 2006. With little preparation, she tied in 2nd place. If you ever get the opportunity to hear her read her poetry, you will absolutely understand why. She not only has the gift of vision, but she has the wonderfully emotive gift of oratory, too. At full circle, she is constantly being asked to write and share her thoughts. She has recited her work in churches, bars, to coworkers and groups. The setting is not important to her, because her poetry reflects healing and inspiration. As she puts it, “People are in pain everywhere.”

She has been through so much. “I don’t care how muddy the mountain is, the trees will help me climb. I don’t care if a storm comes and the wind tries to stop me, I will say, ‘Peace. Be Still!’ If I am lost and you don’t come to look for me, the birds will show me the way!” You can tell she is deeply spiritual in nature and shares this gift through her poetry. She very much wants to thank her family, coworkers and friends for encouraging her along this path.

Interviewed by Linda J. Coate, 2007

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