Tuesday, February 10, 2009

making an effort

On this exact day last year, our school [this world] lost a student. Tonight, I watched another of our students stand in the spotlight, somewhat reluctantly, for our school. I can't help but think this is the Universe speaking - a door closing, a window opening. Letting go of the one we couldn't help, gently pushing the one we can.

When I introduced the Poetry Out Loud competition a couple of months ago, I told my Advocacy class (kind of like a homeroom) memorizing & reciting a poem would be required; I knew if it was optional, everyone would optional right out except the kids who already do all the work plus the extra credit. (Not that there's anything wrong with that...). So most of them groaned and moaned through the days but everyone stood & delivered, eventually. Two of our class winners were boys who largely complained about the entire exercise yet when it came time to recite, they rocked the room. And when it came time for them to represent at the school competition, T - an impish young man my daughter adores - yet again knocked everyone out with his performance of "Jabberwocky." We announced two runners-up from our school because I thought T might just bow out of a more public display like the regional competition.

But he surprised me by not only shrugging "Sure" when I asked if he was up to another round - which required him to memorize a second poem -he also showed up tonight despite suffering a sinus infection that kept him out of school the past three days. Though he didn't advance to our state competition, T was poised and prepared; I just might have been as proud of him as his mom.

And considering this date, the tone & theme of T's second poem are eerily mild and thoughtful, slightly hopeful; at the very least grounded. The Universe nods in approval.

The persevering Mr. T

On Inhabiting an Orange
by Josephine Miles

All our roads go nowhere.
Maps are curled
To keep the pavement definitely
On the world.

All our footsteps, set to make
Metric advance,
Lapse into arcs in deference
To circumstance.

All our journeys nearing Space
Skirt it with care,
Shying at the distances
Present in air.

Blithely travel-stained and worn,
Erect and sure,
All our travels go forth,
Making down the roads of Earth
Endless detour.