National Poetry Month

I did an exercise with my 12th grade Creative Writing students (all girls!) today where we wrote a poem about a time we felt angry and then took phrases from it to write a scene in our longer piece of fiction we are working on for the end of the year. It was cathartic and difficult all at once, but it was a relief to take our own feelings and let our main characters "borrow them". Here’s my poem:

You used your power like the tip of a knife
     enough to wound
                    to cause me pain
                    to leave a scar

And yet, you said it all with a smile
            as if you knew
            (but could care less)
my feelings were hurt, I felt small.

Then, when I was proven right
        (you were wrong)
you didn’t even apologize.

Now I’m the one with the secret smile.

I’m a a little late jumping in this year to celebrate National Poetry Month on LJ. I’ve been at an Educator’s Conference in Campinas, Brazil. It was refreshing and overwhelming all at once and I know it will impact my students and my teaching practices and perspective from here out. This conference was made up of educators in American Schools from all over South America. It was a privilege to meet colleagues and directors of schools, to spend extra time with those I’m honored to teach with every day and to spend some time thinking about the hows and whys and the whos of what we do and the wheres of the future and how it is changing. Truthfully, I am exhausted but in other ways I feel settled and directed and ready for the Monday morning bell to ring. 

This poem wasn’t written for either Poetry Month or as a poem about my weekend but I did recognize the unexpected graces that came my way this weekend and I’m grateful.

Unexpected grace colors 

air, trees, ears, cheeks, 

creeping surprise 

with delight settling close

to warm a soul, remind

a heart of its reasons.

–Kristy Dempsey © 2011 (all rights reserved)