Local Currents: Be A Poet


“…we’re encouraging Dudeists around the world to celebrate The Now Is Here Day this Friday, Dec. 21…Just take it easy, mankind… It’s like Lennon (and three other guys) said about “The End”:

And in the end / The love you take / Is equal to / The love you make. From http://www.dudespaper.com

This week has been too full of trauma and ill tidings of the horrific. Sometimes it helps me to reset and focus on the now with a little Dudeism, the religion formed around the film, “The Big Lebowski.”

This week, we have grieved over the worst event that can occur in a classroom. I want to explore the best that goes on in our local classes.

Poetry is one of the finest and simplest gifts that Mary Blanton, Laguna Beach’s Teacher of the Year, brings into her third grade class at El Morro.

Before the holiday break, she teaches a unit on composing poems. This week, my wife Sarah, a former editor of literary journals and author of her own blog and book of poems, visited the class to talk about the value of poetry. She described how to write poems and to share some of her favorites. Then the kids shared some of their own poetry too.

I can’t think of what else I’d prefer to receive from my lads than the expressions of their feelings about life in words and on paper. After this week, I went looking for poetry treasures when our own boys were at El Morro.

Poetry forces a person to focus on the now, to create art with words and to share how one sees the world. When done well, poetry fosters connections between people and generates bonds and community.

To push aside the holiday madness and whatnot, sometimes the best way to decompress (after a bit of eggnog, hot buttered rum, gluhwein, aquavit, boerenjonges or whatever keeps your mind limber) is to put some words on paper and express yourself in poetry, preferably to someone you love.

Consider an excerpt of ee cummings’ poem, “i carry your heart with me”:

“here is the deepest secret nobody knows/ (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud / and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows / higher than soul can hope or mind can hide) /and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart / i carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart)”

Turn off the news, be in the now, and author something of your own this week.


David Vanderveen is a Laguna Beach resident, husband, father and energy drink entrepreneur. His email is [email protected]

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