Suzanne Buffam’s Enough”, along with Victorian poet Arthur Symons “April Midnight”, was the choice of our local high school’s Poetry Out Loud representative, Casey Ober. She went to the state competition and made the Top 10 regional finalists.
What was most interesting, in the interview I read, was her passion for the poem. Ober enjoyed Symons, but Buffam spoke to her. A junior in high school and she already had enough anger and longing and emotion and whatever for Buffam to speak to her.
Power. A voice. Have students figure out what they want to say. They like to complain, but when they drill down they don’t know what they have to complain about. “What are you rebelling against?” they asked Marlon Brando’s Johnny in the classic The Wild One. His response: “What do you got?”
Teens. Am I right?!
See if they CAN identify their angst, or happiness or joy or ennui. Name it. In a few words, capture the cause. Then, capture the solution. In a few words. Move them around and freeze it. Not a poem, but something. Perhaps close to understanding their own skin.
I am wearing dark glasses inside the house
To match my dark mood.
I have left all the sugar out of the pie.
My rage is a kind of domestic rage.
I learned it from my mother
Who learned it from her mother before her
And so on.
Surely the Greeks had a word for this.
Now surely the Germans do.
The more words a person knows
To describe her private sufferings
The more distantly she can perceive them.
I repeat the names of all the cities I’ve known
And watch an ant drag its crooked shadow home.
What does it mean to love the life we’ve been given?
To act well the part that’s been cast for us?
Wind. Light. Fire. Time.
A train whistles through the far hills.
One day I plan to be riding it.