Hello clay readers! I know this month’s article is supposed to be April Fool’s Day themed, but I think that one poet, by the name of Sam Instew, deserves an article all about himself. He was a very serious person and died a tragic death. But before I spoil anything…here is the biography of Sam Instew.
Sam Instew was born in Seward, Alaska in 1892 near a riverbank. He began writing poetry almost as soon as he could hold a pencil in his fist, even though it was mostly illegible. As he grew a little older, he found his inspiration in the beauty of the world. His first poems described river banks and the Northern Lights. But the more he aged, the more he found comfort in noises. He wrote poems describing the sounds of water dripping, thunderclaps, and other noises found in nature. He couldn’t sleep without noise surrounding him, his favorite noises being crickets, the ocean, and, after they were invented, the rustling of a gummy bear bag.
Now readers, you may be thinking that Sam was a very normal boy. He loved the outdoors, was a poetic genius, and was a naturalist. But, unfortunately, his parents began noticing some very odd behaviors in their son. When his mother was pregnant with him she craved salmon with grape jelly, and wanted nothing else. And after he was born, it appeared that she had passed those cravings down to her son. He would scream and cry as a baby whenever she cooked it, and she had never seen him so joyful as when he tasted salmon for the first time. After eating salmon for the first time, he refused to try any other food. His parents were finally forced to feed him only salmon. But this wasn’t the only strange behavior. Whenever guests would come to their house, Sam would blush and hide under the nearest chair. His parents thought that perhaps he liked enclosed dark spaces, so they built him a dog house in their yard. Sam spent all his time there. He claimed it gave him much needed inspiration.
His parents quickly realized they couldn’t send him to school. He would always get lost on the way there, and after he had been found and led to class, he would get lost again on the way home. His parents received multiple reports from his teachers stating that he spent his whole time daydreaming and could hardly be called back to the present. His father convinced his mother to allow him to pursue his artistic dreams, leaving Sam in a state of contentment and happiness. Yet another quirk of Sam Instew was that he frequently forgot their names, which seemed strange since all of the village children called their parents by the same titles—Mother and Father. Despite how often Sam assured his parents he was happy, he began to feel depression encroaching on his joy. He found that poetry became a relief from the dreary cloud of depression that always seemed to follow him. Unfortunately, he became irritable whenever working on his next poem—which was all the time.
However, all of his sadness and irritability changed in 1916 when he met Ursa Black. She was a sweet young woman who had suffered constant bullying due to large quantities of facial hair. Thankfully, Sam found her very attractive and fell in love immediately. They spent twelve very happy years together. Ursa was very supportive of Sam’s dreams and goals, and he never gave her any grief about her appearance.
In 1928 Sam passed away, followed by his wife a couple years later. Sam Instew had lived to the ripe old age of 36. It wasn’t until the autopsy that his parents were informed that eating salmon 21 times a week can lead to Mercury poisoning. The silver lining was that so many things were now explained. They could then go on to produce eighteen more offspring without worrying about the consequences.
Sam Instew was best known for his collection of 342 poems about the majesty of the mineral calcite and the dripping of water. Inspired by the leaky roof and slow monotonous dripping of his dilapidated doghouse, the following poem is one of the Sam’s most well-known and best loved:
Drip drip drip
Drip drop plop
Did I already say that?
Sam Instew never stopped chasing after his dreams, even though his poems never gained fame until after his untimely death. His life and death serve as a constant reminder to us that we need to keep all things in moderation, and too much salmon leads to terrible poetry.