Poems about peacefulness

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Most people probably have a spot they like to go to for peace and quiet. It might be a daily place of refuge or more infrequent. It might mean going to a physical location or just closing your eyes and creating a special environment in your mind. Or doing a daily Bible study and meditation which helps to start the time with a proper frame of mind.

In high school and college, my happy place was with a journal. Writing out my thoughts and feelings offered me peace. I could vocalize what I needed to there without having to worry about pleasing anyone or needing someone else’s approval. So, yes, despite all the uncertainty that encompassed my life, there were still moments of seeking calm and peace … and finding it.

These poems were both written during tenth grade. I have no idea what prompted the first poem, although it was written before I had any concept of yoga. The second was written after finishing my biology final exam.

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Applying for Governor’s School

As I’ve mentioned before, I often shared my poetry writing with the school guidance counselor. She was the one who encouraged me to another step in developing my skills.

She was the one who would hang posters on the wall of the cafeteria of scholarship contests and other scholarly opportunities. I first heard about the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities by spotting a poster in the cafeteria. The Governor’s School was offering a 5-week program in the summer for various visual and performance arts, music and creative writing. The poster included details about a one-day workshop at a local community college to offer a chance to work on poetry and learn more about the summer program. Even though I was attending a high school in Georgia, I remained eligible to apply because I still lived in South Carolina.

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Mr. Kremin assigns 10th grade autobiography

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A treasured note I received from Mr. Kremin.

Tenth grade meant taking a religion class with Mr. Kremin. I remember him standing at attention in front of the crucifix (in the way only a former member of the military can) to lead us in prayer at the start of class. He faced forward with his back to us; his reverence was an example for the rest of us.

Kremin’s class was amazing because he gave us one of our first tests of being treated as adults. When you walked in the room, you were met with an air of respect. You had to decide how to respond to it. It was the first time that respect in the classroom really seemed palpable: You walk in and you matter. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s one of those intangible things that really resonated with me.

He was a natural teacher and storyteller. What he shared was captivating, maybe because it seemed to be more than going through a lesson. He wanted to communicate more than just the material but to truly reach you, to challenge preconceived notions.

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Poem: Grandma

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My maternal grandmother died when my mom was 16, so I never got a chance to meet her. I had a relationship with my step-grandmother, but it was still a bit distant and formal. My paternal grandparents lived several states away so we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together either.

Generally speaking I got along with my step-grandmother, but we weren’t super close. We would spend time together a few times a year, usually going out for lunch. In many ways she was the classic Southern woman, and she tried to teach me manners and social etiquette. Not that I was an animal, but I had a preference for eating burgers and fries that she wanted to change. The  biggest restaurant moment that stands out is her insisting I try chutney with my meal. (I must have branched out with a chicken sandwich.)

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Poem: Questions for My Sister

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I grew up with Andrew, my brother who is two years older, but we have a sister, too. She was stillborn because of umbilical cord complications. She would have been three years older than me.

My parents named her Lauren Elizabeth.

While growing up, I’d often wonder how our family would be different if she were alive. How our relationships would be different. Thinking of how maybe, just maybe, when I felt like I couldn’t confide in anyone else, I probably would have been able to turn to her. Longing for that sisterly advice. I generally got along great with my brother, but there are just some topics you can’t really bring up.

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Why didn’t Cinderella wear Airwalks?

The shoes I had but different colors.

My church was trying to establish a consistent presence with the youth in our parish. There had been a few different leaders/youth ministers over the years but none at the time lasted more than a year. The constant turnover didn’t help with creating stability in the program and keeping interest.

By tenth grade church leaders were trying again, and there was a guy in charge. I remember we had a social event. It must have been an actual dance because there was dancing that night and I can’t imagine dancing just being a small part of the evening rather than the focal point. Anyway, it’s awkward enough to go to dances, but I was trying to push myself and trying to meet people.

Anyway, what I’m sure was intended to be a fun ice breaker ended up having an isolating effect. Wouldn’t it be fun for the girls to leave a shoe in a pile and the guys pick up a shoe and that’s how the first dance begins? What could possibly go wrong?

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Feeling lost in history

In tenth grade I took honors English and history (Ancient and Medieval history, to be more accurate). Both classes thoroughly kicked my butt. Over the summer we had a massive research project for history. I consider having to look up 30-40 people and events and write maybe half a page on them explaining their significance a massive project. Again I wasn’t good with doing research. Some of them didn’t have their own entry in encyclopedias or other resources I looked at, so I didn’t know where else to try. And for whatever reason, it still seemed like a cop out or failure to ask the librarian for help. I didn’t do very well for that project. That wasn’t a good introduction for the class.

I suppose I could have dropped the class upon learning about the summer requirements, but I didn’t. Maybe I didn’t realize that was an option.

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Embrace the squeaky shopping cart

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This weekend I was visiting with my parents to celebrate Mom’s birthday. It was nice to be able to get away from work and spend time with family, no matter how brief.

There was a moment when I was out shopping that I had a little epiphany. I’m sure you have similar instances when a seemingly random object or event suddenly evokes greater meaning.

While out shopping, the cart I grabbed seemed just fine, but after a few steps it was quite clear this one had a problem with a wheel. It was loud, rattling and didn’t want to go straight. This was going to be a short trip in the store so I kept it.

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Poem: Dancing Fairies

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At the end of ninth grade, I approached my English teacher about the idea of a literary magazine for the school. She really liked that idea and said she’d look into it. We had a small student newspaper, but there wasn’t a whole lot in there.

I had helped on the literary magazine during eighth grade, and it was a cool experience to see submitted writing and artwork from students. It was also a challenge to put it together. When you’re not directly involved, you don’t think about the details and the process: having to evaluate submissions, handling pieces submitted anonymously, which piece seems right to be first or to close the collection .

I had shared some of my writing with her during the year, some things I had done outside of class. And she encouraged me to submit to a magazine for young writers. (I forget what the magazine was called.) I sent in a bunch of things, but “Dancing Fairies” is the one they published. I can’t say it was a favorite of mine, but at least someone else liked it.

This is another poem that I believe was inspired by a phrase I drafted using the magnetic poetry pieces.

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Conversation hijackers and other communication problems

So, previously on the blog I’ve described some of the internal struggle with communication, the spinning Rolodex in search of information, in search of something worthwhile to share.

But there are other external factors that impact communication.

Perhaps I’m over-analyzing a particular encounter I had in high school. Perhaps I’m remembering it wrong. It’s entirely possible. I honestly don’t think those details are the thing to focus on, though, because the feeling I had afterward are what have stayed with me for so long.

I was in the school cafeteria, waiting for the morning bell to ring so that I could go to my locker and get ready for class. And I was talking to another girl. She was describing a concert she had been to over the weekend.

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