{poetry} cities & theatres


The daughter has been taking a Poetry for one of her Extended Learning Opportunity (ELO) classes. The quarter culminates in a Poetry Cafe where the students read some of their work aloud. Natalya has given me permission to share two of the poems.

The first is a Found Poem one of her other teachers told her how to do. She was reading Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities at the time so the lines of the poem are found in Invisible Cities.

Invisible Cities

The messenger describes,

in gardens of magnolias,

of the cities Zora, Despina and Zirma.

With pinnacles of skyscrapers,

with women chattering as they weave raffia rugs,

he tells of the half-sophornia

with the shooting galleries,

and of Leonia

whose rubbish grows,

landslide danger looms.

The mute informant

express himself only with gestures,

walks in gardens of magnolias,

not existing,

telling through dreams and memories.

–Natalya Lawren (14 Feb. 2012)

The following is an original piece she will be reading today. (note: she is still working on punctuating it)

Night’s Theatre

Night descends

like fierce owl

hunting mice and moles;

while dusk fades

like dust swept away.

And sun retreats

battle lost

to replenish troops for another day.

Silk curtains are drawn back


a silent wood upon a stage

with harps and flutes and butterflies

and they begin to play.

Trees sigh, the birds sing,

as harp and flute accompany.

Yet as midnight nears,

they tire and begin to wane,

trying to stay awake in vain.

The twilight curtains draw,

now robust red,

and as bells chime

they are thrown aside

for Puck has come to play!

Bounding across the wooden planks,

to rejoice in chaos and absurdity.

Though strong stands this theatre of stars,

eventually it must tire,

and show begins to flicker,

as the sun rallies loudly

with blaring sounds

The night’s theatre fights bravely,

but you must wake,

and deep sleep you must forsake

As dawn breaks doors

to scar starry skies

with bloodshot eyes.

And though there are choices we can make,

the day-lit sky we must partake.

‘Til again we lay our heads to sleep

this theatre our minds shall keep

with mem’ries of fair lunar shore

and whispered dreams from faerie lore.

–Natalya Lawren (Feb.2012)


N has been working more determinedly on her poetry. She is more consciousness in trying to achieve end rhyme and has playing with structure. [You know those rhyming games in the car and those hours with Seuss? A pleasant side-effect is a child who loves free-verse.] “Night’s Theatre” captures N in process. The first stanza is what she has been doing. As the poem progresses you can see a more conscientious narrative. And while she always revisits her diction, she began to revisit later stanzas to create greater balance and end rhyme.

N was determined to write a Shakespearean Sonnet, so we reviewed meter (which I am iffy on on the best of days), but it (and this quarter) made for a lively discussion on content, structure, and meter. She has been trying to integrate what she is learning into the voice she has been growing since birth. As for the Sonnet: she thought she had the theme and the meter and form, but she didn’t have the structuring of the content. She’ll return to it. I hope she does. I look forward to watching her continue to learn and grow.

I need to find her some mentors, some poets.


{image: illustration by Jam San}

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