Kyra Abbott ‘24, Student Life Editor
April is National Poetry Month — a month dedicated to the celebration of the art and history of poetry. Days of the Year, a detailed digital calendar, said, “This [month] was inspired by the success of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, both of which also happen in the early parts of the calendar year.” In 1995, The Academy of American Poets hosted a meeting that invited poets, publishers, and literary organizations to discuss the benefits of potentially having a month dedicated to poetry. The meeting came to an agreement, and the month of poetry was established, which has grown in appreciation ever since.
In celebration of this month, several SLHS students have shared their own poems. Below, the poems are showcased in the following order: a view into the world of undiagnosed patients (written by me), a calming perspective about the ocean (written by sophomore Olivia Wilson), the emotional toll of saying goodbye to moving neighbors (written by an anonymous SLHS student), and the importance of keeping a positive attitude in times of hardship (written by Edgar Albert Guest, a professional poet).
Trapped in the System
The medical world is full of doctors
Doctors incapable of making the diagnosis
So we are consumed
Consumed by the system
The system that holds us victim
Erased of the diagnosis
That could free us from the hostess
Some patients are lucky
The system consumes them
And within days to weeks, it spits them back out
We, the undiagnosed of the world,
Get trapped for months to years
For we are popcorn, fed to the jaws of the system,
Only we don’t go down, we get stuck as kernels
In the ruts of the monster’s teeth
We become transformed… waiting… time not brief
Living a life of constant worry, uncertainty, and despair
We walk into doctor rooms, sit on the examination paper that crinkles
And we are evaluated with care
The scent of sanitary surfaces fill our nostrils. Seems simple.
The familiar pinch poke prod of a needle upon our skin
The touch of a stethoscope on our chests
Like the well-known caress of an elephant’s trunk upon her calf
Negative test results are what we receive
Normal people celebrate
Desperate patients, like us, are left with no answer and little hope
So desperate, that any answer would do
To free us from the ruts of the system
The sweet taste of hope constantly spoiled by the rotten taste of discouragement
Invisible symptoms lead doctors to say, “it’s all in your head”
But we know it’s not; doctors only believe the seeable
We are voyagers, going from specialist to specialist
Only to see unsatisfied ripples being created, pushing us further away from shore
We start to see signs in everything and in every sensation
Our situation invades our thoughts, feelings, and even obtrudes into our dreams
Feeling alone, even though we aren’t, we grow hopeless…
And we grow weak by the thoughts of others
We know the only way to find our way out of the system is to get a diagnosis
But, in the end, doctors can discover the enigmatic
Even the unfortunate can become lucky; relieving the symptomatic
“Trapped in the System” by Kyra Abbott
Hues of blue
Sun kissed sand
Waves billowing beyond the land
Tide rolls in
Tide rolls out
The creatures of the deep
In a magnificent talent show
Blue as far as the eye can see
Water is chasing me
Orange, red, and yellow glow
Sun is starting to go
Ocean pulls back
Day is done
Water waves goodbye
In the slow, gentle rocking
Of the tide
“The Ocean” by sophomore Olivia Wilson
Sold and Gone: Life Goes On
The alarming SOLD sign just stood there;
It was a foreign language digging paths into my brain.
The house of my neighbors with young, adorable kids
Two comedic boys and one sweet girl,
Ranging in ages from three to nine
Evenly spaced like a fork’s tines.
Moving since they needed more room
Doing what they think was best for them,
But I don’t think moving was the best for any of us.
I had watched those kids grow up
Fed them their bottles of milk,
And held them when they were little.
I even saw them take their first steps.
Alas, goodbye to watching them grow
And watching them run in the snow.
Can’t be their fun sitter that gives each one a prize…
It’s all gotten tremendously bitter with black skies.
Their moving truck stacked box after box,
Just stares at me with those headlights
As clueless as their dachshund that has tracked mud through the house.
Life seems pointless without neighbors like them.
Already missing their sweet, satisfying smiles.
Their giggles were a magical melody
That filled my body with springtime hope.
Their spontaneous stories that warmed my heart melted
Like crayons left in their humid Honda.
Those kids could make anyone smile,
Even on the roughest of days.
I’ve been lucky enough to have them here;
After all, you don’t get to pick your neighbors.
I will miss their familiar presence,
But spring does come with a new birth in sight.
Spring will be sure to bring me new flowers,
And return me to a joyous state once again.
It will be alright, change will prove to be beneficial with time
The new neighbors, I’m sure, will be equally prime.
“Sold and Gone: Life Goes On” by an anonymous SLHS student
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
when the funds are low and the debts are high,
and you want to smile but you have to sigh,
when care is pressing you down a bit – rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns.
As everyone of us sometimes learns.
And many a fellow turns about when he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow – you may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than it seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up when he might have captured the victor’s cup;
and he learned too late when the night came down,
how close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out – the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
and when you never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems afar;
so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit – it’s when things seem worst, you must not quit.
“Don’t Quit” by Edgar Albert Guest
In addition to the pleasure that may come with reading poetry, there are a lot of other benefits that many never really think about. Poetry is often overlooked as something that only “good” writers can accomplish, but that could not be further from the truth—anyone can write when it comes from heart-felt emotion, the five senses, or inspiration.
The Benefits of Writing / Reading Poetry:
- It may improve cognitive function
- It may help heal emotional pain
- It may increase self-awareness
- It may provide a gift of inspiration or education to readers
- It may help us celebrate
- It may be beneficial for developmental learning / increase developmental skills
- It may help improve or establish ideas
- It may be therapeutic for the writer
- It may be therapeutic for the reader
- It may help people understand the significance of words and phrases
- It may help people understand others
- It may help people understand themselves
Every poem has its calling to someone somewhere, and every poem has a purpose and a gift woven within the lines. The creative mind has no end, for it has two powerful allies: the imagination and the heart. Therefore, join in on celebrating the creative art of poetry and the multitude of unique styles of writing that it has to offer.