By: Camila Lopez, Junior
As an assignment, the Creative Writing students watched videos and read poems for National Poetry Month from the Academy of American Poets: "The multimedia project allows students to engage directly with award-winning poets by writing a letter to the poet."
Below is junior Camila Lopez's poem of choice and her letter to the poet.
Jeanetta Calhoun Mish
one day when you were three,
in the time of living in the mountains
in the time of waterfalls and rainbows
hummingbird was lost--
he was trapped inside a window.
fallen to the corner of the sill
his body heaving
i scooped him up with my mommy hands--
the hands you gave me to hold you when you cry
and you gently caressed his feathers
shimmering iridescent in the late afternoon light
outside, under a trembling aspen
i raised my arms, opened my hands
and hummingbird flew toward the sun
i want to tell you this story
so you know that the tiniest moments
hold the clearest blessings
i want you to know
i have learned to let go
Dear Jeanetta Calhoun Mish,
I recently read your poem, “for Michael”, as part of the amazing poetry unit in my creative writing class. Your poem gave the recent Mother’s Day holiday a new perspective for me, and it was exactly what I needed in the trying times we are living through.
As a junior in highschool, starting to make decisions about going away to college, your poem reminded me of all the memories and love I am going to carry with me when I embark on new journeys away from my parents. It's definitely a bittersweet feeling to realize the things you will miss once you start to become your own person, once our parents have “learned to let go.”
The first time reading your poem, the close relationship you portrayed was so heartwarming and special to read. Even through my computer screen, your words about the hummingbird’s “shimmering iridescent” feathers as you “scooped him up with your mommy hands” transported me into this scene, and I felt how special that lesson and story were for you, just as they are for billions of mothers and children around the world. We really are nothing without the lessons our parents have taught us: the good and the bad.
I also noticed parallels between the hummingbird’s story and my own. There are times in my life where, like the hummingbird, I have “fallen” and been “trapped” in the situations I dealt with. I am fortunate that my own mother is the first to pick me up and push me to flourish and fly “toward the sun” as I accomplish my goals.
To further my understanding of the poem, I also wanted to ask you, is the story about the hummingbird true, or did it come from the inspiration provided by the lesson you wanted to teach your young son? How does your family inspire your poetry and writing in general? What else do you find inspiration in when the “blessings” are not so evident?
Thank you for the beautiful poem. I hope to keep the words with me in my future travels and use them to help me grow.
Some things to know about me are: I love to listen to music and laugh with my friends. I also like to volunteer at many different places in my free time in order to help and learn new things. I hope you enjoy my writing this year!