Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, and I don't want to miss mentioning it.

On May 10, Olney held a poetry reading to celebrate the month. Anybody could get up and read or recite a poem and 44 people did. Roger read "Tent" by Reed Whittemore, a NOT deceased but still alive University of Maryland poet and mentor of his who was poet laureate of the United States in, I believe, 1988. Roger also read "Dog" by Ferlinghetti. I was going to read a Mary Oliver poem, but decided not to. Then our friend Ela, the admissions director, asked Roger and me to read a poem with her that had three "voices."

Anyway, it was quite moving to hear the poems. Some were in foreign languages, some were written by the person reading them, and many of the students memorized their poems. I was reminded of the power of poetry to convey truth and to reach a deeper part of us. Near the end of the session, one of our students, who had previously been in a gang in New Jersey, read a poem he had spontaneously written that revealed some of his soul and made me glad that the school can reach out at least to few teens who mightnot otherwise have made it.

In any case, I wanted to share a poem written by John Karsemeyer. John is a Quaker and the father of Jaya Karsemeyer, admissions assistant at Olney and a friend. John and I had the privilege of visiting Fallingwater together on one of the most glorious fall days ever, when all the leaves were golden, the sun was out, the sky was blue and the temperature was perfect. These things are a grace that you can't control but only accept. In any case, here is one of John's poems as I feel it's important to share the voices of those around us:


I light the fire/it warms me.

I surrender.
Letting go of day/effortlessly/it slips away.

of day
fill the spell of sleep/until dawn breaks.

is simple,
everything else/complex.


Do you remember a poem or poems you'd like to mention?


Diane said...

Hi Di, AFAIK Reed is NOT dead! There was just an item about him doing a reading in DC not long ago. said...

Dear Diane:
Jaya emailed me with your bloglink, and I was thrilled and honoured by your kind words and the posting of that poem.
Thank you.

In f/Friendship