April 22, 2013

'A Hole In Your Life'

In Ohio's Fairport Harding School, English teacher Susan Tenon's eighth graders have just finished The Year of Goodbyes--and my mailbox is full of their notes and poems for the online Poesiealbum Project.  This spring I'll be sharing the thoughts they've sent my way.  I'll start here with two pieces from 13-year-old Rachel Vahcic.
First Rachel wrote this poem, imagining a departure much like the one my mother made in The Year of Goodbyes:


I’m going to have to leave soon
We are not wanted here anymore
It’s just not safe for us Jews
So we must escape
For who knows what would happen if we don’t
We are choosing to go away
Away from our families
Away from our friends
Away from our homes
Away from the life of our very own
But we are going to start a new one
One that will hopefully be calm and pleasant
A life that’s nothing like what we are going through as of now
A life where we are treated like everyone else
One that we aren’t stereotyped or judged for our religion
A life that we can go out and not be criticized
Not be threatened
Or tormented
Or even killed
Hopefully we can live a very nice and fresh life
Where there won’t be as many goodbyes

Then there's this, also from Rachel:

When I read Rachel's words in these two very different poems, I know that she understood the book.  There's the stress of persecution, the relief of escape.  Then there's "the hole in your life," in Rachel's words, "where that somebody you cared about used to be."  Thanks, Rachel, for your poems.

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