Thursday, January 29, 2009

Smile and Let Go

By Silfredo Rodriguez, a young poet from the city of Camden, NJ, also a member of Hopeworks, a non-profit organization in the city of Camden, NJ.

I walk this road alone because I chose to.
World shattered.
Heart ravaged by devastation.
My mind knows not the depths of peace nor the
tranquility that lies within.
I was told that once upon a time my transgressions
were paid in full,
that my sins were paid for in full,
that these same sins lay at the bottom of a sea of glass.
If this is so…then why?
Why do my memories still haunt me?
Are these things that I myself haven’t forgiven myself for?
Is it my fault that I am not able to forget?
Is it my fault that the things I have buried in the depths of that
sea have somehow made it to the surface?
Is it my fault that I can’t shake my past?
I look at those sins as vast and numerous as the stars in the sky.
Laying on the surface of that sea,
smile and let go, walking away from them knowing that
I am forgiven.

Silfredo shared this poem at a church last Sunday and there wasn't a dry eye in the place. Poetry can be like that sometimes. It's very cathartic...piercing. As a person that works in the education field, I was pleased at the clarity of the piece. It was poignant with great use of imagery and metaphors. I recently conducted a workshop, "Incorporating Poetry into After-school Programs," and was able to "see" the research that I presented to the group, in this poem.

Research shows that the arts help youth build both basic and advanced thinking skills, and instruct youth in diverse modes of thinking and learning. The knowledge and skills that students develop in learning to respond to, perform and create works of arts constitute a fundamental form of literacy students must have if they are to communicate successfully and function in today’s new media and information society.

I hope more of today's youth embrace the arts!