Unspoken Word
August 20, 2020
Leonard Cohen on Where He Found His Song

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:10 AM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2020
How to Listen to the Beloved

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Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2020
I Have Written 1,000 Poems for You

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I have written a thousand poems for you
that have never left my room,
they fill the pages of notebooks
stacked high on a shelf no one can reach,
orphans they are,
beggars afraid they are not
noble enough for the King,
would never make it past the guards,
I make a vain attempt
to dress them up,
disguise their ridiculous origins,
but still they smell bad,
even so, there are times, late at night,
when they think I'm asleep,
I can almost hear them talking to each other,
conjuring ways to make it to your court,
oh, the arguments they have,
the brawls,
the lunatic moments of staking their ground!
Some of them actually believe
all they need is a shower and a shave,
others, unsure of who they are or might have been,
insist on practicing, all night long,
their perfect way of greeting you.
Of course, there is much to be said
for these backroom bards,
these arm wrestling vagrants from another world,
indeed, if I was dead,
my slightly deaf biographer,
after paying his respects to my dear, sweet wife,
would borrow them just long enough to search for pearls,
find the perfect turn of phrase,
the sudden storm of brilliance
even my harshest critics
would have to praise,
he'd think of clever little titles for the tome,
describing, in his mournfully halting way,
the "man who left his muse too soon"
or some such thing
that might make you stop for a moment and wonder
why I never gave these poems to you --
the one for whom it all makes sense,
even when it doesn't.

Excerpted from Full Moon at Sunrise
Photo: Aaron Burden, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:43 AM | Comments (0)

He Always Wanted to Say Things, But No One Understood

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The following poem was written by a senior high school student to his teacher, in Canada, two weeks before he committed suicide. This is quite a powerful piece of writing -- one that gives voice to what, I imagine, many students, around the world, experience when their individuality and creativity is not honored or encouraged. The poem was sent to me by Mohammed Azim, a very caring and tuned in teacher (Head of the English Department, Coach, and Team Leader) at Al Siraat College in Epping, Australia.

Mohammed has shared this poem, for years, with his Year 9 and 10 level students and it always has a huge impact on them. He especially remembers one of his students asking, "How can we demonstrate creativity when we are always preparing for exams?"

If you are a teacher or parent, pause for a moment and ask yourself how you can allow more time and space for the young ones in your life to express their creativity. Yes, there are things to learn and tests to study for, but there is also the deep need for creative expression. In your classroom or home, there are not only future doctors, lawyers, carpenters, welders, entrepreneurs, and teachers, there are also future artists, dancers, musicians, and writers. Maybe THEY don't know that yet, but in time, they will -- that is, if you give them the time and space they need to explore and express their God-given gifts.

PS: For maximum impact, read the poem aloud, slowly and with feeling. The young man who wrote it committed suicide two weeks later. May his life experiences and his poetry be of great service to all of us.


HE ALWAYS WANTED TO SAY THINGS, BUT NO ONE UNDERSTOOD

He always wanted to say things but no one understood.
He always wanted to explain things but no one cared.

So he drew.

Sometimes he would just draw and it wasn’t anything.
He wanted to carve it in stone or write it in the sky.
He would lie out on the grass and look up at the sky and it
would be only him and the sky, and the things that needed saying.

And it was after that, that he drew the picture.
It was a beautiful picture.
He kept it under the pillow and would let no one see it.
He would look at it every night and think about it.
And when it was dark, and his eyes were closed, he could still see it.
It was all of him and he loved it.

When he started school he brought it with him.
Not to show anyone, but just to have like a friend.

It was funny about school.
He sat in a square brown desk, like all the other square
brown desks, and he thought it should be red.
And his room was a square brown room like all the other rooms.
It was tight and close, and stiff.

He hated to hold the pencil, and the chalk, with his arm stiff
and his feet flat on the floor, stiff with a teacher watching
and watching.
And then he had to write a numbers.
And they weren't anything.
They were worse than the letters which could be something
if you put them together.
The numbers were tight and square and he hated the whole thing.

The teacher came and spoke to him.
She told him to wear a tie like all the other boys.
He said he didn't like them and she said it didn't matter.
After that they drew.
He drew all yellow and it was the way he felt about morning.
And it was beautiful.

The teacher came and smiled at him.
"What's this?", she said.
"Why don't you draw something like Ken's drawing?
Isn't that beautiful?"
It was all questions.

After that his mother bought him a tie and he always drew
aeroplanes and rocket ships like everyone else.
And he threw the old picture away.
And when he lay out alone looking at the sky it was big and blue.
And all of everything, but he wasn't any more.

He was square inside and brown, and his hands were stiff,
and he was like anyone else.
And the thing inside him that needed saying didn't need saying anymore.

It has stopped pushing.
It was crushed, stiff.
Like everything else.

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Excerpted from Possibilities, by Des Petersen

Do Schools Kill Creativity?
30 Ways to Know if You Have What It Takes to Innovate
Photo: Alexander Dummer, Unsplash
Illustration: gapingvoid

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:02 AM | Comments (0)

August 02, 2020
May I Stay Here Forever

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TimelessToday
Excerpted from this book

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:24 PM | Comments (1)

“I have nothing to say, I am saying it, and that is poetry.”
— John Cage

Welcome to my new blog — brief ruminations on what it is that moves me (and maybe YOU, too). If any of my poems inspire you, please forward them to friends. Good muse travels fast. Or could, with your help.

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