Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Divine Poetic

Non coerceri a maximo, sed contineri a minimo divinum est.

Not to be limited by the greatest, yet to be contained in the tiniest-- this is the divine.

Ignatius of Loyola


Conversations about poetry continued in the classroom this week. We re-enacted a 125 year old ball game while reciting the stanzas of Casey at the Bat; we were awake and a'wander one mist-slippery night/down by the moors and the bay; and some students read Sing it Out with obvious delight, gusto, and amusing mishaps. All of this was leading up to them making a book out of a single sheet of paper and creating their own collection of words they enjoy and an original poem.

As a way to talk together about the actual process of writing poetry, we took up the theme of zucchini. (I thought it likely that they wouldn't choose that subject for their own verse). The kids counted syllables in lines, remembering that Casey was built of lines between the small window of 13-16 syllables. We spoke of coherence--Zucchini is better than the queen...hmm...Does it make sense to compare zucchini to people?How can you keep the imagery of the queen and change that? "Zucchini is eaten by the queen!!" We spoke about needing a coat hanger to give structure to the clothing of our ideas...and syllables, theme, line breaks...these are all part of the hanger...

I had no idea heading in whether it was going to fly or not, this idea...this idea of bit by bit bringing them inside a poem's structure...of bringing them inside the work that they are also creating at the same time...of introducing them to the idea of listening to language and structure and responding to what you hear...

But wondrously o wondrously, they seemed to get it!

And it was absolutely glorious... Kids were auto-correcting their own lines when they read them out loud and the syllables didn't work for the sound they wanted, they were offering each other words to use...they were reading to one another and to me...

They were hearing the music, the notes, contained in the tiniest syllable! They were hearing the sound of words coming together and using that to compose their own music!! They are learning how to use tools that are the same tools used to create much larger works that also ring with harmonies...speeches, essays, longer poems, love letters, eulogies, a letter of condolence, a book...

There is no greatest limit nor a minimum requirement...the music, the rhythm, the pulsing life and Ah! and delight and creativity and simply IS.

And it brings me deep, humble, joy to share that with my students... To have them discover with and within their own being, this aspect of the Divine.




No comments: