Note: The following blog entry comes to us from our colleague and friend, Ian Heisler, who teaches poetry at Trivium Preparatory Academy.
The three poetic forms represented here, ekphrastic, ghazal, and haiku, represent a wide range of formal poetry originating all over the world (Hellenic, Arabic, and Japanese). A theme stringing together each of these very different poems is abstraction. The ekphrastic poem responds to an abstract Makoto Fujimura painting, and considers the nature of painting and of beauty itself. The ghazal also deals with an abstraction: time, both how we think about it and how we are compelled to deal with it. Even the haiku employ their vivid, concrete images to consider immaterial realities—home, time, change, innocence, and the sorrow of the world.
And yet, though they deal in abstractions, none of these poems lose their sense of immediacy. The young poets, writing in the fall of the pandemic school year, all managed to maintain a sense of dealing directly with reality. Two of the three students created these poems while quarantined. Many of the strongest student poems I’ve read this school year have been penned by online learners. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised: stretches of silence and solitude are often the most fertile soil for poetry. As Wendell Berry says, “Make a place to sit down. / Sit down. Be quiet. / … for patience joins time / to eternity. … / … Accept what comes from silence. / Make the best you can of it.” Each of these poems displays patience, and all of them artfully and vividly beautify the silences from which they were born.
“Walking on Water—Azurite” from Makoto Fujimura
By Katie Chow, Trivium Preparatory Class of 2024
I keep thinking of snow rather than water
With white and shades of blue splattered
On the canvas, releasing jagged and
Rough textures, as if it’s the side of a
Snow covered mountain.
With the movement of Earth, an avalanche
Has occurred. Snow pouring from the top
Causing a large cloud of snow to form.
Beauty caused naturally
Rather not instant but an act of evolution
Starting from a still frozen snowy mountain
To a cloud formed slowly as snow rolls down
From the peak. Painting, made purposely for water,
The act of evolution is shown rather than instant,
Energy gathers to push a single wave from the
Sea and back into the Sea, causing speckles of
Water to splash.
Time Is Limited?
By Sydnee Davis, Trivium Preparatory Class of 2024
Hours go by eternally as we waste time,
Instead of enjoying what we had, we raced time.
The world always changes—it never stays the same,
we rejected it—so we never have faced time.
It will take a while for us to accept it.
We must understand that we have not erased time.
We are dishonoring all that we still have left—
it is a shame that we finally disgraced time.
What scares us the most is that time is limited—
we thought it was possible to have defaced time,
But it is not. Time is the inevitable,
Living on until the end—ever emplaced time.
Five Untitled Haiku
By Jaydn Christison, Trivium Preparatory Class of 2024
Flowers that are captured:
The soft flawless creature without sorrow
Kept for the conquerors.
The sad wet willow tree:
Branches drooping low the leaves
Crying about the world they see.
The sundial, frozen over with frost
Still manages to move its shadow
along with the dull changing sun.
A key, able to open the door of home.
The deer do not need one
For their home is everywhere.
The slow caterpillar
riddled with transformation
But remains the same for now.