Monday, February 1, 2010

Poetry... Monday?

Normally I do poetry on Friday, but this deserves a posting of its own.

This morning during 3rd hour I had two seventh grade girls knock on my door while my sixth graders were writing in their journals. When I opened the door, one of the girls said to me, "Mrs. S do you remember that poem you wrote last year about your sewing closet?"

My first reaction was, "Huh? What are you talking about?" I honestly had no recollection of what this girl was referring to. I can't even sew a button on a pair of pants. Why would I have a closet dedicated to a hobby in which I have no competence? And why did they think I wrote a poem about this nonexistent sewing closet?

"Well we were reading this poem in Mr. A's class when Jake said it reminded him of the poem you wrote last year about your closet. Mr. A wanted us to come ask you if you still had it because he wanted to read it."

It was then that I finally grasped that they were referring to a poem I wrote about my scrapbooking closet.

The poem was not that good, but I was touched that a group of seventh graders (who are a very challenging group to say the least) remembered something I wrote and made a connection to it based on a poem they were discussing in class one year later. And I'm even further touched that it resonated with them.

This is the poem they were referring to:

Memory Keeper

Inside my scrapbooking closet
a piece of paper waits to be cut
pictures wait to be arranged
an album waits to be opened
memories wait to be recorded.


Life’s scrapbook

The colorful layouts
will never do justice to the
of the places we visited.

I can try
but my albums will never
the cold sweetness of the water
cascading down Roman fountains
the overwhelming sense of smallness one feels
while gazing at ocean cliffs in Santorini
the air leaden with history
in the now youthful vibrancy of a united Berlin
the friendliness of a Polish college student
who walks you and your friends
to the Warsaw train station
just to make sure you won’t get lost
and so he can practice speaking English
to a group of four American travelers
grateful for his generosity.

I wish my albums could
capture all of these memories
but when I open my closet door
and cart out all of my supplies
I relive each experience
all over again.

My albums may not
imprison these memories
inside their dazzling pages
but the very act of opening
this closet door
reminds me
that these memories
and are not to be confined
to a page
but rather
kept warm and safe
inside my heart.

- Beth Shaum

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