At Radnor High: A warm welcome, graffiti art and two poems

Sunday, November 16, 2014

At Radnor High, for my continuing Wall Talks, I was hosted by the exquisite Michelle Wetzel and Fran Misener and that most fabulous Molly Carroll Newton (of Radnor Memorial Library). There were brownies, pretzels, sandwiches. There were students who had much to say, teachers who made room for the session, a vibrant and vast library world. There was a story about a family member who lost his life in East Berlin because he would not relinquish his bicycle to the guard. There were healthy debates about risks and choices. There were the kinds of conversations that leave a happy buzz inside my head.

The art above is by Fran Misener, one of my hosts for the day. (I so love this.)

The poem below is by Eun-Soo Park, who leads the book club at Radnor High and who had me sign his copy of Going Over for a friend who was off on a field trip that day. She really wanted to meet you, he said. So I think I should give the book to her.  (I so love that.)

Eun-Soo wrote:

The Cost of Freedom
Waiting with words trapped within 
Ready to burst with irrepressible emotion
Unable to make a choice
For fear of stumbling into regret.
Bonds broken, lives at stake,
Stuck with a feeling of stasis.

Time passes.
Every second, a wasted opportunity.
What stops a fleeting rush toward freedom?
The danger, the worry, the risk of death.
But what really hinders the dreams of life
Is believing that one can exist without freedom.

Jake wrote as well. I share his words here as emblematic of many of the wonderful words the students of Radnor High produced during our time together:
The promised land is a distant light,
A chasm, deep and dark.
Too wide to see where it ends
Crossable, but with a steep cost.
The fear of the unknown: the final barrier.
My work with these students is not done. My pleasure is ongoing.

Finally, Ms. Wetzel gave me a gift of air which also turned out to be (surprise) a pair of air-colored earrings. I believe that it was those very earrings that got me through a long ride and a final river talk yesterday. Michelle, you were there with me.

(I so love that.)

Some photographic outtakes.


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