Nostalgia time–Musings from my seventeen year old mind

I found some of my old poems that I wrote when a senior in high school, way back in 1978.  I’ll let you do the math.  Suffice to say it’s in the double digits.

I saved my portfolio all these years because my teacher gave me an A+ and wrote “You write so beautiful (sic); with a style so peculiarly your own.  Some poems should be published.”  What a terrific thing for a senior English teacher to say and to think that her praise stuck with me all these years. I wish all teachers would consider for a second just how powerful praise (and ridicule) can be. After countless moves across the country, I’ve managed to hang on to my work and her words.  I’m particularly thankful this Thanksgiving eve for having had a teacher who encouraged me.

The pages are yellowed, most typed on a typewriter (look it up on Wikipedia if you’ve never used one) that made extra bold periods. A few pages were hand-written (obviously didn’t negatively impact my grade).  Several have clippings I pasted from magazines to serve as illustrations. All the pages were bound together in one of those clear portfolios with the plastic thingy that slid down the side, pinching all the sheets together. Only the top half of the plastic portfolio remains. I lost the back half and the binder thingy long ago.

Anyway, without further ado, I present some sample musings from my seventeen year old mind.



Our memories are pasted helter-skelter
In your scrapbook
Strangled scraps of debris
Fading with each aurora

There’s no order to our lives anymore
I’m yin; you’re yang
Head to toe in ceaseless chase
We just can’t seem to connect

The lace has yellowed
The bronze tarnished
Cobwebs are all that
Hold our castle together

What irony is this
That we’re as much one
As we are two
Bound only by a silken web

Such a charade we play
A union set on automatic
And meanwhile you keep pasting
Just in case.

That was a rather grown up sentiment, don’t you think? I have no idea what was going on with me when I wrote it.  And remember, this was well before the scrapbooking craze of the 21st century.  Scrapbooks were much more mundane.

And now for a little teenaged angst, with shades of Janice Ian’s At Seventeen. Keep in mind, I had just moved to North Carolina from New Jersey and was dubbed a “Yankee”. Girls can be so mean sometimes.

To the Modern Scarlett O’Hara’s

They smile at me,
With gracious manners
And cheerful tongues.
To see them is
To know them is
To despise them.

Yes, I despise them,
With their painted smiles
And counterfeit tongues.
I see and
I know and
I pity…

The belles
The beauties
The brainless bodies
Of lost purposes
And ancient motives.

Yes, I pity them
With their hollow ideals
And mass-produced charm.

Me use pretty words fresh from the thesaurus for this next one:

Nocturnal Splendor

The night crept down
and bid the sun farewell
as the crickets shouted their evening glee,
while the frogs chirped in reply.

The moon stole an infant glance
at her nocturnal subjects
basking in delight
in her uninhibited silvery rays.

The stars burst from their diurnal barriers
twinkling their pleasure
nodding in assent
to the hours they would share in freedom,

While I, an intruder
just watched
and listened.

I got an “I love it!” on that one.  Ha!

Continuing with the sensory theme…

Colorful Rhythm

Swirls of color
Red, blue, and yellow
Swirling and ever swirling
To the beat of a scratchy fiddle.

The colors blur
And my mind grows dizzy
As the dancers spin
Across the hay-carpeted floor.

The rhythm pounds in my ears
“Swing your partner!”
One, two, three
One, two, three.

And in the background
I can faintly hear
The cattle lowing
Underneath the newborn stars
While the dancers swirl and spin
Across the hay-carpeted floor.

I wish I could remember my teacher’s name.  I’d love to thank her for believing in me.

2 thoughts on “Nostalgia time–Musings from my seventeen year old mind

  1. Two comments.

    First, how awesome that you still have this. I still have a few of my papers from HS but I wish I had more!

    Second, this is ten times better than any poetry I could write today, and I graduated HS 9 years ago. I’m feeling quite inferior, as my fellow AWers often make me feel.

    • Thank you so much, HelloKiddo!

      If I’d posted all of them, you might have formed a completely different opinion. Heh-Heh. I just posted the best ones of the bunch. There are pages and pages of drivel that are very embarrassing. But, it is pretty amazing that I’ve hung on to this thing all these years. This is about all I have other than an article I wrote for my college newspaper that I never sent in and some weirdo story I started and never finished…sigh…

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