Over the last six weeks or so I’ve been working through the collection of poems I have been writing to the young people at our youth health clinic in Horowhenua. It seems I’ve ended up with quite a few of them now. I suppose I’ve been sanding them and trying to turn them from a group of individual scribblings into something more coherent. I really like this time in a collection ... I can kind of see some sort of larger shape emerging. And I love taking the sharp edges off each of the poems ... and tacking on bits here and there .. and standing back and watching them arise out of their scaffolding.
I’m putting one up on the site today for Paige. That’s not her real name of course ... but it’s one she chose for herself when I asked her if it was ok to put the poem up here. She is a young person I’ve known for a few years at the clinic. And she has taught me so much. She has really struggled to make sense of some horrible trauma in her life. And I am so grateful to her patience with those of us who scramble around trying to present neat solutions to her all the time regarding that tangling. She is a hero to me to be honest. And all the young women and men we see who have been hurt in the same way. She shows more courage making it through one day ... and showing up for the next ... than I would summon up in a couple of years of living. I look at how we decide who is worthy of praise in our society and so often we get it wrong I think. There aren’t enough medals for her I reckon.
(Click here to download the poem)
I’m off to Boston too in a couple of weeks to read at Longfellow house ... which unsurprisingly is where the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, lived for 50 years. And where George Washington was headquartered during part of the American War of Independence. Then I’m off to Mexico City to help launch ‘An explanation of poetry to my father’ which has been translated into Spanish by Rogelio Guedea. If you get a chance to track down some of his poetry then please do so. He published a collection a few years back called, ‘Si no te hubieras ido / If only you hadn't gone’ which is beautiful.
Anyway I’ll touch base after I get back from wandering. A big mihi out there to everyone.