Monday, September 12, 2011

Writing in the Margins

Thinking about my role as a teacher after the news that yet another of our students committed suicide over the weekend, a freshman. Not one of my students, but it just as well could have been.

Writing in the Margins

I try to write in the margins
not sprawl purple ink on your precious words
and I'm not saying precious with a snarl
What I am skirting around is the truth
that whether or not you will ever be literary
or grammatically correct
or well-organized
is really irrelevant
although I do kind of fall for the literary types
they are my favorite, I won't lie
as long as they are open to feedback
those and the truly witty jokesters
and the strong girls

But where I am headed here is that...

Your words are precious
You are precious
Too precious to allow the words or thoughts of others
to have the power to destroy you
So long as you use words
you are human
and you are vital
the moment your voice goes mute
whether by noose, pills, force
or silent withdrawal
you lose the power to save yourself
to save others
to discover what you cannot save
to hope to save
to love
to let go
to free yourself

you lose it all
and we lose you
and, really, we need you
the world needs you
you have a place within it

I'm sure there is a metaphor
that will say it better
but listen
I'll leave it to you
to critique this poem
suggest more figurative language
talk back to it
write all over it
I don't care
I'm sure it has greater possibilities
but so do you.


  1. Damn, Amethyst.
    That is powerful. Thank you.

  2. Amethyst - that was a very effective and deeply personal expression. I worked on educational enrichment and living skill programs for special needs youth (primarily 6th-12th gr) - many who were bullies or victims of bullying. Are you aware of the program began/sponsored by Dan Savage. The program is: "It Gets Better." While it is aimed at GLBQT youth, it has value far beyond the intended target. Keep the faith. Jeff

  3. Thanks for the comments. Jeff, thanks for letting me know about your involvement with young people, helping them get through life. I did hear about that program "It Gets Better." Looks really good. We were talking in class about how the word "bullying" has almost become empty, but a lot of the work that has been done on GLBTQ issues has sort of brought the issue back to life with fresh messages that really get people's attention. GLSEN has some good campaigns, too.

  4. So, why aren't you co-sponsoring the Poetry Club with me? Your poem is wonderful and such a perfect opener for our year. Thank you for starting my day with such inspiration!


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