Friday, February 21, 2014

Full Circle

As you may recall from my resolution post at the very beginning of the year one of the many things that I wanted to focus on this year was to get back to my creative writing roots. The overall goal was to resume writing poetry and stories, pursue publishing them, and doing the occasional reading. While my time is still very limited leaving me little time to pursue these efforts I have been presented an opportunity this week that should get me back on the right path in this endeavor.

For those of you who don’t know, I was rather active in the Philadelphia and Boston area poetry scenes about a decade ago. Since then, time and other objectives seemed to have stymied that creative outlet and it has been a struggle trying to return to that eclectic world ever since. This week proved that sometimes things come full circle when we are least expecting them.

On my LinkedIn profile I have a sample of one of my more popular poems which has been published multiple times in various literary journals, an anthology, and a part of my own small collection (i.e. chap book). Many of the people I have connected to through LinkedIn are from those days in the poetry scene and every once in a while I get the occasional correspondence usually just checking in and seeing if I am still writing. However, this latest message was very specific in its purpose… I have been asked to write an article about Janusz Korczak.

The goal is to complete the 3,000 – 4,000 article by the end of next month with publication scheduled for April. While I have some knowledge still remaining in my mind on the subject and about Korczak’s life, I am going to have to do some extensive mining to recover those raw ore that will power the story. Nearly ten years is a long time between writing projects on a specific subject especially when I am going to have to rediscover my academic writing side.

It will be a challenge and one that I am heading into with some trepidation but I am looking forward to reading the end result. It will not be a scholarly piece but it will serve as an introduction to an astounding life. It will be a means to make history more accessible which was the original goal of my poetry in the first place. This is precisely the reason why I said that this project is going to bring me full circle.

So, what was the poem that sparked this project and inspired a local literary editor to contact me? I could just direct you to my LinkedIn profile but I’m not going to do that. I have included the poem below. I hope that it sparks the same kind of curiosity in you that it has in others.

A Pure Breath

“What matters is that all this did happen.” – Janusz Korczak

The boy pushed away sleep and,
blinking his silent eyes in the candlelight,
he listened to Korczak’s voice.

Echoing above the soldier’s
ash-muffled steps, the only
sound in the camp was
the doctor’s paper cracking
like a stiff flag in a sharp
breeze as he chiseled lead
onto what once was white.

Despite his arthritic fingers,
he had written hundreds of
pages in the ghetto;
but these were the first
curled letters of his Kaddish.
This was his last leaf of script;
the last journal entry which
would never leave his hand.

This was his voice that would rain
down with his body and
rest in the lungs of Treblinka.