But, with one teen graduating this school year and another just starting her high school years, it's kind of hard to avoid the memories.
This Poetry Friday, we're doing the "Time Warp."
|Laura Salas is hosting Poetry Friday|
this week at
Writing the World for Kids.
I decided it was time to go back, but not by fretting about my daughter. Instead, I have taken down my high school yearbooks. They've been sitting on a shelf for nearly 30 years. And I have been avoiding them. Junior year was so bad that I didn't buy that yearbook. Even while I was living that year, I knew the memories would be too painful later.
I wrote about some of my high school story at the bottom of this post. Note -- trigger warning for those who have had stalkers or abusive relationships.
One of the things helped me keep it (barely) together during those years was participating in our high school's literary magazine.
|Being a part of the literary community|
was important to me, even in high school.
I have vivid memories of watching my friend Eugene, whom I'd known since elementary school, create the art that accompanies my poem. His father was a photographer and had a darkroom at home. The image was created by placing objects -- puzzle pieces, pebbles, a rubber dragon toy -- on photo paper, then exposing the paper to light. The white images are the places where the objects covered the paper. Eugene was one of the few people I stayed friendly with all the way through high school, so creating this image is a happy memory for me.
I was a big fan of Lewis Carrol's Alice books. Rereading this poem, it's clear how much I connected with the poor, doomed Jabberwock when I was a teen.
The Cry of the Jabberwock
by Laura Dickson (1986)
The endless, idle year I've spent
within these lonely caves of stone.
And centuries, they came and went
and still the halls of rock, my home.
The caverns, though, were dark and gray.
No sunlight reached my tired eyes.
Damp and gloom both filled my day.
The glistening rocks were my blue skies.
Yet, as I slept, the walls would speak
and tell me all that they had seen.
The haunting words would make me weak
and haunt me in my every dream.
The echoed with disastrous scenes
of death and darkness all around.
They cried, they cried unearthly screams.
And all would tremble with these sounds.
|John Tenniel's Jabberwock|
to speak the dreadful prophecies.
And so, went forth, though not by choices,
to find the planter of foul seeds.
I left my home of many years
and yet, I felt no strong remorse.
For what I saw brought me to tears
and this in time would meet doom's force.
I slept among the greenest glens
and breathed the breath of newest life
and hoped that it would never end
or meet with sorrow or with strife.
One stormy day my quest did end,
as I approached from within fog
gray walls that seemed to never end
surrounded by a danger bog.
|From Bryan Talbot's graphic novel|
Alice in Sunderland.
so reminded me of home,
I could not move towards the door.
And once again I felt alone.
And He, the one that I had sought,
then looked upon my pleading face.
But in his fear my foe knew naught
and words were wasted on his race.
Alas, the men attacked me then
with arrows bursting into flame.
I was, again, without a friend,
and stood, bewildered, in the rain.
With aching heart and bleeding eyes
I fled that place, and in my rage
I screamed out awful dragon cries
and stumbled aimlessly for days.
|Mervyn Peake's Jabberwock|
from the British Library
the beauty that had thrilled me so
and think of it as dead and gone.
I headed to my caves below.
As I approached my dreary home,
much weary from my journey's pain,
a boy awaited me, alone,
and standing silent in the rain.
A boy so innocent, so pure,
perhaps my words had reached his ears,
and he would like to hear yet more
of how to calm the dread of years.
And in my hope my heart misled
and let me trust the human child.
But as he turned I saw with dread
his eyes, like hunter's, were death-wild.
|The Jabberwock stars in his own picture book.|
hung in the stillness of the air.
The silver flashed and to his joy
the blade cut in the final dare.
And I did not scream out in pain.
Instead, cried only silent tears
as I lay dying in the rain,
the land of heaven coming near.
And from above there is no sound,
yet teardrops fall from thousand eyes.
For life was lost and nothing found
in endless time to dragon cries.
As much as I still empathize with the Jabberwock, I think it's hysterical that my poem is at least twice as long as Lewis Carroll's original.
Going back, looking at yearbook pictures of people I knew as a teen, reading the notes people wrote on the end papers has not been easy. On the plus side, I feel like I can be more present for my children now, because my mind isn't buzzing with old feelings.
Do you still have writing from when you were a child or teenager? How does it feel when you go back and read what that long ago person, who was you, had to say?
Here's some music to accompany you on your journey.