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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: Thinking about Imagination and Change with a Steven Withrow poem...

On September 29, a few hundred thousand folks will celebrate the second "100 Thousand Poets for Change." Click here to get a taste of that ambitious endeavor.

According to a press release, this event "brings poets, artists and musicians (new this year) around the world together to call for environmental, social, and political change. Voices will be heard globally through concerts, readings, workshops, flash mobs and demonstrations that each focus on their specific area of concern, within the framework of peace and sustainability, such as war, ecocide, racism and censorship.

“Peace and sustainability is a major concern worldwide, and the guiding principle for this global event,” said Michael Rothenberg, Co-Founder of 100 Thousand Poets for Change. “It’s amazing to see how many people have joined in around the world to speak out for causes they believe in, and to see so much heart and creativity expressed in their diverse approaches to this event.”


While no one might agree with each and every individual issue being advocated on that day, I certainly believe in the power of poetry. I believe in the power of positive change and appreciate that the freedom of expression I so often take for granted in the U.S. comes at great risk in other parts of the world. So hats off to creative folks trying to better the planet!

In contemplating the theme of change for today, I wondered where it originates. I think it originates in the imagination. So today I'm bringing you a wonderful poem posted with permission of its author, Steven Withrow. (We had a nice chat with Steven here back in October.)

            On the Jetty

    Boy who sits upon a bridge of stones
over Plymouth Harbor shuts his eyes,
silences all seagull-circus cries,
guides the tide-lines in by thoughts alone.
    He thinks that if he hooks one where it forms,
soft, a foam of wave-wash at his feet,
angles right where rock and waters meet,
he’ll know the reeling power of a storm.
    He dreams that he’s a pilgrim on this landing,
scrawny Myles Standish, émigré,
anchorage mud deep in Plymouth Bay.
    These reveries exceed his understanding,
no soldier he, nor seeker of the new,
narrow buoy, adrift in world-wide blue.


©Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

I think the reference to Myles Standish certainly points to change - in fact, the Pilgrims must have done more than imagine a new life; they must have envisioned it. And poetry helps us envision connections we might otherwise overlook. What does this poem kindle in your imagination today?

Thanks to Steven for sharing this poem today! Be sure to visit Steven's great Poetry at Play blog, where you can also learn about Poetry Advocates for Children and Young Adults.

The amazing Sylvia Vardell is rounding up more great poetry this week at Poetry for Children. Check it out!

(Note - I'll be at the SCBWI Southern Breeze Illustrators' Day all day today and will check back later.)
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