Friday, April 5, 2013

Crystal Clear Clarity (on the Non-Verbal Spectrum and Worth Every Carat)

She's a diamond mine
full of precious gems
hidden beneath a thin
fragile surface tun-
neling next to impos-
sible, constantly col-
lapsing in on its-
self — [(/ trapping within
all \)] she longs to get out.

words escape — glistening
pink diamonds so rare
you cannot help but
gather them to you
string them together
dangle them from your ears
letting them linger there
so fine and perfect.

Unsure of when next
a jewel will grace
her sweet lips, you hold tight
every priceless note
and each delicate sound
of exquisite beauty.

Inspiration for this piece:  In searching for something to write on, it dawned on me that along with it being National Poetry Month, it is also National Autism Awareness Month.  (Note:  I am certain that if I dig further I would unearth several other celebrated entities for this month, but these two are — at least for me — the most noted of April.)  This year, I have had the opportunity to experience a new program in my school district.  On days where I need a break or am looking for a smile, I stroll into the preschool autistic classroom.  It is not always the most calming of environments, but still I find peace in sitting down with them and interacting (as best they can) with these little marvels.  They span the spectrum in abilities, each so unique and precious.  Of the original five (there are now eight in the program), there was only one little girl (who I'm lucky if I heard say two words this entire school year).  The amount to which she and the others have grown while in this program is amazing, but recently when I sat down next to her and she was unhindered to sing along to the music and even respond to my prompts was ... I'm not really sure there are words for it.

On unearthing titles:  I would say that 95% of the time a title will not arise until a poem is completed (4.9%  I may stumble upon it while writing and 0.1% of the time if is the first thing that comes to mind).  Of the 95%, I'd wager that I struggle with the majority of that percent.  This piece was no different.  Since nowhere in the poem do I make reference to autism, I felt like it needed to find its way into the title...the first thought that came to mind (given the content) was Autism Speaks.  But given its current use I was hesitant, plus other things were lingering, like the need to included the idea of diamonds and for some reason the word spectrum was stuck in my head.  And so, somehow, the crazy title above was born.

A note on form and structure:  While technically this piece is written in free verse. I did for some crazy reason feel the need to stick to a pattern of sorts; the lines range from 5 to 6 syllables in length, which I think ended up working quite nicely by inspiring the breaking effect within the first stanza.

Also in the first stanza,
[(/ trapping within
all \)] 
the use of these extra symbols is hard to explain. They were not in the original write, but added upon typing the piece here.  The poem works without them; the lines flow nicely.  But the idea of trapping them, making them an entity in an of themselves seemed right as well; those three words could easily come out and the lines would still flow.  I guess by putting them in I allow for three versions of the poem really: one reading straight through, one reading them as an aside and one without them at all.  I don't know...I don't really think it matters much what is behind it, just that it works.


Brian Miller said...

i rather like the extra plays well as well...i like kids on the autism spectrum as well...i mean i wish they werent but some of my fav kids are on the spectrum...and those on the mid to low end, i bet the parents would love a syllable from them...most i work with are on the high end and more explosive..

Brian Miller said...

as to is rare i have one before the end...and i always try to think creatively so it adds to the poem...

Mary said...

Oh, those pink diamonds....wonderful when they appear. I so very much enjoyed this write (and am now following).