"The Future in a High School Intern," lyric poetry in a Tuesday Workshop for writers and teachers
Tuesday Workshop: Unexpected occasions for writing poetry
1. Here I am this week visiting with friends in the small mountain towns of northwestern North Carolina.
2. Stimuli for new poetry come from unexpected sources.
3. Appreciatively touring off the Blue Ridge Parkway into the little town of West Jefferson (pop. in the range of 2,700), I spotted the Visitor Center of the Chamber of Commerce of Ashe County (pop. in the range of 27,000).
4. Inside I found two delightful people, a most competent coordinator and a High School Intern (with the Executive Director visible through a glass window but busily engaged in other matters, and soon forced to leave the building for important business elsewhere).
5. Now I won't name these people here, but the friends with whom I am staying in the area, as is the case with most observers of Max Havlick, seem to take great delight in my open willingness to make friends with virtually everyone I encounter, but especially when it involves members of the opposite sex.
6. Reports of my simplest, nicest get-acquainted conversations seem for many people to carry the connotation of romantic flirting, as in my honest admiration for the Visitor Center Coordinator.
7. As an aside, I remember Kristen (administrator at the St. Paul Lutheran Church in Villa Park where I sometimes visit) once told me on a visit to her office (May 2011), "You only write poems to women!"
8. To which, at that moment, I could not think fast enough for a sharp reply, except to feebly try to deny it, and then admit it was at least partly true.
9. But what I wish I had said was something like this, "What do you think the best poets of the past wrote about? What do you think grown men today should write about -- the trees in their yard, the demolition of old buildings, political high-jinks, new advice in nutrition?"
10. Oh well, it's easy to be smart long after the fact. Right?! Is anyone with me out there?!
11. A small part of a busy day, finding two nice people doing a good job at the tough task of handling all manner of out-of-town visitors, but I had not the slightest thought of writing poetry about them or anything connected with them.
12. However, my friends went to bed early, in the range of 8 p.m., which is about the time back home in Chicago suburbs I usually just get started, but it's dark in the NC mountains, and quiet, so I also went to bed in the wonderful room they provided me, and slept very well.
13. When I awoke at 2 a.m., my mind drifted surprisingly to the young high school intern, so different in so many ways from all the other people I had met during the day, and also different from the coordinator who was her supervisor, who could well have been her mother, but clearly wasn't.
14. This girl exemplified the best young people we have in our country, and clearly the best hope our country has for a good future. In any case, people like her are the future!
15. A few lines of poetry formed in the dark, which I could remember until morning, but then a few more ideas in a format that even I could not honestly call an experimental American sonnet, so I turned on the light and wrote down what I could -- just ideas really, but a couple of good lines, I thought, and turned out the light and went back to sleep.
16. During the day, I realized maybe I could not, or should not, or would not be able to give the poem to the young lady involved, so "What am I going to do with this? File it in my record of such things (the easy road), or work on it a while and create something perhaps memorable, but at least interesting to me if to no one else?"
17. Later, about 5 p.m., I found every word of it to be absolutely true, as best I could see it and write it at the moment, so truly representative of all good high-school youngsters everywhere, it would be irresponsible of me not to respect the inspiration and little talent I've been given, so I finished the poem.
18. I hope you like it. Please comment.
The Future in a High School Intern
In Angela now
inside her life now,
inside her head now,
inside her heart now,
inside her soul now,
inside her strength now,
new worlds are swarming,
new worlds are forming,
new worlds reforming,
new worlds performing,
new worlds a-borning;
a gift of Nature,
a special creature,
a subtle picture,
she is the future.
Max Havlick in the North Carolina mountains
on Tuesday, September 17, 2013,
2:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Copyright (c) 2013 by The Max Havlick School, 16 W. Vermont St., Villa Park, IL 60181-1938, all rights reserved for the benefit of the person for whom the poetry was written. We consider language skills a basic key to life, so we feature English language, literature, and spirituality for any serious adult desiring deeper skills of a productive, creative life: reading, writing, vocabulary at HS or college levels, surveys and detailed studies in great literature. We value each person's life as a priceless work of art.