Poetry in the Blood

My grand-daughter Catalina Raquel Adragna is twelve years old and an amazing young woman--she's an A student, a good athlete, and now, I've recently found out, she's a budding poet. She put together a handmade book of her poems for a school assignment. And last night, with several other students in the seventh grade, she presented a poem as part of Chandler School's 13th Annual "A Night of Words to Warm One's Soul"--Poetry & Coffee house.

Fifty four students took part by reading one poem each. There were also interludes with two pianists, a guitarist, two ballet dancers, and a folk singer with guitar. With coffee, cookies, and cake, it felt like a Poetry Lounge & Cafe. I must say I was impressed with all the poets--some of them read like pros. And many of the poems had strong images, anecdotes, language.

Of course, I was very proud when Catalina got up to read her poem, called "The Private Forest." It's about the backyard flower garden at the home of her Saturday art teacher, David Moen. Here are a few lines: There is a place I go on Saturdays / Where leaves spring out from chairs / The trees look as if they are protecting the flowers / Where the bugs and butterflies fly / The cats' meow and swipe their paws / Along the cool pond...

Poetry seems to be in the bones and blood of my four children and four grandchildren. They are all great writers. I'm proud that Catalina is continuing this legacy. Poetry saved my life. I don't know if any of them will be actual poets for life--but, just the same, having poetry in their lives is what's important.

Here's one of Catalina's poems she wrote for my wife, Trini (her Grandma Trini):

She's been there my whole life,
Bringing culture and comfort to this oversized family.
She's a hummingbird,
Small and fragile on the outside,
But strong and witty on the inside.
She makes my grandpa smile,
And everything she touches turns to gold
When she's sad the world seems to cry,
But her joy make the sun rise
She advertises and pushes memories of ancestors
into the world,
She might not be part of my blood,
But she's part of my heart in this oversized family.


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