"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Friday, December 7, 2018

Sugar Plum Wings

Warm, dark hands tied the sash
at my waist then guided me to
a Christmas Carol stage where
magic twinkled in electric stars.

From the edge of the curtain I heard him
urge me to sing snowmen could dance
and angels had sugar plum wings.

When the music stopped he spoke,
“Follow my voice. I’ll guide you
where you can’t see to bring you safely to me.

I didn’t know 1957 sorted skin by colors or words
could be sharper than knives….I was a little girl
trusting kindness would not let me fall.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2018

When I was in the first grade I met one of the kindest men I've ever known. His name was Mr. Kelly and he was our school janitor. Well, his title was janitor, but he was much more than that. I like to think of him as a guardian angel. He always had time to help tie shoes or ribbon sashes, wipe tears, or guide noisy, wiggly children onto a Christmas pageant stage. This poem is about the six year old me who didn't see the color of his skin, only his kindness, his tender care.

Real Toads Wordy Thursday


Jim said...

Until reading your comment I was concerned that ulterior motives were about to enter the scenario. Thank you for the note. He indeed was a kind soul. We had a parent come to school to stay with us in the storm cellar while the tornado passed.

Kim Russell said...

I love your Christmas memory, Susie. I love the magic twinkling in electric stars and the angels with sugar plum wing - and those safe dark hands and kindly voice. Children don't know about racism and prejudice until it's demonstrated to them.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Susie, what a beautiful poem, memory......and man. Such kindness. Such comfort. I especially like "snowmen could dance and angels had sugar plum wings", and that "kindness would not let me fall". I so love this poem.

rallentanda said...

This is such a sweet poem. I love Mr Kelly too. I am so sorry you had to witness racism growing up in your society.Those of us who have been spared that, don't even think about it but reading your work reminds us from time to time... a good thing.

girl said...

What a beautiful memory. I hate that my brain is so tainted that it had to wonder if this was going to end with violation. Every innocent memory is a precious gift.

Anmol (HA) said...

Oh, such a beautiful memory rendered in a thoughtful and tender verse — I love the innocence of childhood when kindness is all that is needed and cherished. I especially love the last stanza.

annell4 said...

Very sweet, and it is "helping hands," that help us on our way. I also had a very sweet janitor in my elementary school.

annell4 said...

A very sweet poem. It is helping hands who help us on our way.

KB said...

Lovely memories in your poem

Old Egg said...

Thank you so much for giving me a treat today by writing this amazingly beautiful poem Susie. Trouble is thar when you are an old man like me tears come readily to the eyes.

Brendan MacOdrum said...

Yes -- homecomings are guided by guardian angels -- without them, how would we know we had arrived? Our memory tells us so. And if home is where the heart is, skin color is as irrelevant as which carol we sing.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This was a great memory to choose.. what I love about poetry prompts - they take us to unexpected places.

Linda Lee Lyberg said...

How marvelous to have such a lovely memory.


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