Thursday, April 16, 2009

Finding your voice and your dream

During an English class I was teaching this morning I showed my students a video of Susan Boyle who is a contestant on a British talent show. You have probably seen it or heard about it.
I asked the students , "What does this video have to do with poetry?Why did the audiennce who witnessed this performance react the way they did ?"(I am not going to describe the video event here as it is ineffable and you have to see it for yourself.)

The contestant,Susan Boyle, had decided to sing "I dreamed a dream" from Les Miserables. After witnessing the video my students began to discuss how the performance exemplified the significance of holding on to one's dreams. One student volunteered that the relationship between this video and poetry is about finding one's voice. "Our voice is our spirit.Our voice is who we are." There was a consensus that those who witness this woman's performance are lifted up with admiration for her but they are also fed a sense of hope for this contestant as well as for themselves.In many ways the singer has proven her own words of her own song to be wrong.One who dares to keep the dream alive can live the dream. She sings for us as well as for herself.

I couldn't help but to think about one of my favorite poets,Mary Oliver, and one of her poems ,"Autumn Poem." Here Oliver writes about persistence, hope and finding one's own voice. This is not a celebration of accomplishment or success but rather a desire for an awareness of becoming who we are meant to be completely. It's been said that "where you heart is there is your treasure also" Matt 6:19

A good friend, Pat, reminded me today that we need to celebrate our second chance every day we wake, and pray that this will be the day that we find and celebrate our own voice(our own heart our soul.) Somedays I feel like a contestant in some great master talent show. Somedays I feel like a plain Susan who has been given a second chance to live my dream by finding my voice and to have it heard. I hope today is your day.

Autumn Poem

In the last jovial, clear-sky days of autumn
the mockingbird
in his monk-gray coat
and his arrowy wings

from the hedge to the top of the pine
and begins to sing — but it's neither loose, nor lilting, nor lovely —

it's more like whistles and truck brakes and dry hinges.
All birds are birds of heaven
but this one, especially, adores the earth so well
he would imitate, for half the day and on into the

its ticks and wheezings,
and so I have to wait a long time
for the soft, true voice
of his own glossy life

to come through,
and of course I do.
I don't know what it is that makes him, finally, look

to the sweet spring of himself, that mirror of heaven,
but when it happens —
when he lifts his head
and the feathers of his throat tremble,

and he begins, like Saint Francis,
little flutterings and leapings from the pine's forelock,
resettling his strong feet each time among the branches,
I am recalled,

from so many wrong paths I can't count them,
simply to stand, and listen.
All my life I have lived in a kind of haste and darkness
of desire, ambition, accomplishment.

Now the bird is singing, but not anymore of this world.
And something inside myself is fluttering and leaping, is

to type it down, in lumped-up language,
in outcry, in patience, in music, in a snow-white book.

- Mary Oliver

1 comment:

  1. Hmm. I wonder which student... :-)