Parkville, Maryland--For Robert Annen, the words can reveal themselves during a car drive along his delivery route or a leisurely stroll around the lake at Oak Crest.
No matter when the inspiration manifests, he is prepared to capture his fleeting ideas, pad and paper always handy.
The resident of Oak Crest, the Erickson Living retirement community, has been writing poetry since he was a 15-year old young man growing up in Baltimore City. This fall, his talent was recognized as he won first place for his submission entitled "96" in the poetry division of the 2nd Annual Silver Pen Creative Writing Contest.
The competition, sponsored by the Baltimore County Department of Aging, drew more than 100 entries from seniors across the county. The award was presented at Timonium Fairgrounds during the Discover the Power of Age Expo held this fall.
"I've had a lifetime fascination with words," described Mr. Annen, who recalls writing detective stories as a boy. "Sometimes, I'll pen a few words at a time, others just a line or two. Eventually, they come together as a poem."
Mr. Annen moved to Oak Crest in June, 2016 with his wife, Beverly. He had retired in 1998 from the grocery department at Giant Food, but shortly thereafter found a part-time job as a courier for Baltimore Medical Systems.
"I enjoy staying busy, but poetry has always meant a great deal to me. Creating something out of a few thoughts, just like a painter with a blank canvass, is inspirational," noted Mr. Annen, who counts Bob Dylan, the American singer/song-writer and Nobel Prize recipient, as an influence.
His award-winning piece, "96", is a short poem dedicated to his Mom, Bertha. He wrote the work a few months after she passed in 2015. "I was so proud of my mother," said Mr. Annen. "She worked hard, and writing these lines not only helped me to honor her, but also was part of the grieving process."
While he's not working or spending time with family, Mr. Annen is a music buff, collecting and listening to classical and jazz CD's. And he has a new endeavor in store.
"Beverly and I are working with a company to publish a collection of my poetry this winter," said Mr. Annen. "We are excited about sharing this compilation with family and friends."
96 (For Mom)
Tea and cake-
In the evening-
The long climb-
The test of time-
In the tremor-
Of heavy waves.
By a sturdy lifeline-
And a burning desire-
To go on living.