Artifact Class Assignment…

I do like to try to post what I can of the work I do in school.  So often, schoolwork appears to be nothing other than time spent alone or off somewhere out of sight from daily life.  Nothing is really produced by your presence.
This was what came out of an assignment to creatively create an artifact to represent my education.  What things I learned, how I changed, what affected me inside and outside of school.  For some reason unknown to me, my artifact became a poem.  I can’t really remember the last time I wrote a poem.  It was probably back in high school that I last wrote anything.

Here’s an excerpt:

Then…
Then when I was 17,
It was a very good year.
I read Orwell’s 1984 while near
The fallen Iron Curtain.
I saw the crumbled Wall, the ruins of evil
That compressed humanity.
And there I lived, the foreigner in
A foreign land.
A role I fell into completely.

[Note, I cannot help but put in any small reference/tribute to Frank Sinatra.  Don’t ask why.  Full text after the jump.]

In the beginning, there was nothing.
All was a silent blur.
Then there came Dr Seuss.
From The Cat in the Hat
I met some 236 words.

Through the grades, I made my way,
Bruce Coville and Judy Blume, I read.
RL Stein’s Goosebumps, too.
My punishment was ‘Go to your room.’
But could never be told, ‘Stop reading.’
I definitely found my loophole.

Once in junior high, I said nuts to work,
And became academically nefarious.
I read novels of fantasy and science fiction,
Along with books on science fact
My father placed in my hands.
An engineer I slated myself to be.

In high school I remember
The required reading never justified
Or questioned.
Great novels: Of Mice and Men,
To Kill a Mockingbird, Fahrenheit 451.
But to what end?

Then…
Then when I was 17,
It was a very good year.
I read Orwell’s 1984 while near
The fallen Iron Curtain.
I saw the crumbled Wall, the ruins of evil
That compressed humanity.
And there I lived, the foreigner in
A foreign land.
A role I fell into completely.

From this book gifted by my Granddad,
I found myself seeking on my own.
We and A Brave New World entered
My conscious vocabulary.

On to Uni where my talents shifted
Away from the calculating to the pondering,
Combining history and philosophy.
Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau.
Marx & Engles changing the tides.
John Stuart Mill and Sigmund Freud,
Hannah Arendt, even Malcolm X.
Each their view entered my eye,
Newly altered lenses through which to peer.

All my life
Rivers of music flowed as currents
Beneath my ever-expanding raft of books.

While reading Star Wars,
I played my Clarinet,
Looking for Dixieland.
While reading Orwell’s fears,
I played my Sax,
Seeking the funk of Jazz.
While devouring the Science of Politics,
The sounds of my thinking expanded,
As I noodled the ideas
Of Davis, Mobley, Brubeck, Adderly…

And while finding my voice and my sound,
I found myself before
Those learning to make a noise at all.

I made them laugh and play.
I had them wanting to learn more.
I found a knack.  A knack to push them
Past the lowered bar.
Now I am seeking to turn
This knack into an art.

Still, through every moment,
Every tune played,
Every word read,
There was and ever shall be,
Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.

Evan Fryer
Schools and Society