Poetry in Motion

Proem ... unfolding with poems and prose ...

At hand herein are a handful of favorite poems which were (in part) imparted as "proems" used as introductions in solicited "supposals" serving as sequels to a thesis and white paper entitled The Fifth Estate: Community Interactivism. While the thesis itself focused on the application of technology in the community ~ e-merging then-new technology with old traditions of communication and "familiar commerce" ~ a corollary study reflected on the Waterside community of Newburyport, spanning generations: past, present and future.

From this broadcloth would unfold (and enfold) an "organic movement" ~ and from that a pattern for bespoken "homespun dress" (to lift a portion of the title from the anthology penned by the movement's figurehead, Lord Timothy Dexter). This livery of working attire was tailored to suit the public process ~ in order to outfit the body politic in a relaxed, comfortable fashion. True to the sense of movement, its reference was in "logomotion" (to use one of the Knowing Ones' neologisms) ~ and was termed at various points in time: the Waterside community's Re:generation, the Waterside people's (Re)solution, the Waterside's Plan in Motion and the Waterside in a Motion of Comity.

Generations of the Waterside people ~ whether born here or drawn here to this special place called the Waterside ~ for a time, a lifetime or a pastime ~ add their handiwork to this "community in the work." Whether orchestrated or serendipitous ~ these occasions are impressively (and expressively) "poetry in motion."

Diverse (Ad)ventures with the Newburyport High School Creative Writing Class (The Record/Poetry Soup)

Spring 2010 Venture ~ Eighth Annual Newburyport High School Favorite Poem Project

SMILE (Seek More Information Linked Electronically) about this annual community experience:

Review full (con)text below describing last year's event for more insight, hindsight and "soul sight" ~
with foresight (and afterlight) about this year's event forthcoming. Until then ..
"Inviting" letter to the editor published in the 4/21/10 issue of the Newburyport Daily News at this link without ~
and notice in the Newburyport Daily News the "Lookout" published published in the 4/22/10 issue of the Daily News at this link without
along with the Newburyport Current article published 4/23/10 found at this WickedLocal.com link without
and letter to the editor (entitled "Experience was transformative") published in the 4/29/issue of Newburyport Daily News at this link without

Comity's submission to the NHS Eighth Annual (2010) Favorite Poem project can be reviewed as follows:
Favored proem for submission: Whitman's prose "Absolute Balance" (duly noting this Comity.org Poetry in Motion webpage congeries below)
Correspondence submitted 4/10/10 is archived at Comity.org ~ found linked from the Correspondence webpage & at this direct link within
Comity.org webpage presenting Comity's (sub)mission (and vision) for this year's favorite poem and "favored proem" can be found at this link within

Fall - Winter 2009 ~ Recent Venture ~ "Poems for Pettingill"

An essay in "community in the work" conceived and organized by students of Newburyport High School English and Creative Writing teacher Debbie Szabo, who also serves as faculty advisor to The Record (student journal/magazine) and Poetry Soup (poetry/creative writing group) ~

Refer to Newburyport Public Schools website for more details at this link without with the order form (pdf) at this hyperlink

~ Local print media coverage (online): Newburyport Daily News article and Newburyport Current article
~ Letter to the Editor regarding "Poems for Pettengill" & "Heal Haiti" projects at this link without

"Poets for hire" work order forms submitted by Comity & creations completed by student "scribes" to date:
Poems for Pettengill Work Orders
Submitted form (pdf file)
Completed work (pdf file)
Work Order No. 1
Enlightened Poetry: "Blue Moon Candles"
Work Order No. 2
News piece parody: "Doughnut Contest"
Poems to Heal Haiti Work Orders
Resubmitted form (pdf file)
Back-order/re-order for new semester's "Heal Haiti" project
Work Order No. 3
Versatile & vital verse for lifelong learners: "Education as a Door"
Work Order No. 4
Inspired memorial, inspiring memories: "Meeting Place" :
Work Order No. 5

Spring 2009 ~ Seventh Annual Favorite Poem Project

To (re)mark National Poetry Month in April, Mrs. Szabo's students first solicit then review favorite poems submitted by members of the community ~ chosing a number for recitation at an event held at the Firehouse for the Center of the Arts on the last Sunday of the month. Since 2006, this student-run community affair has coincided with the Newburyport Literary Festival ~ concluding that weekend fair with flair.

Press release by Deborah Szabo (pdf format)
~ Local print media coverage (online): Newburyport Daily News article and Newburyport Current article
~ NHS Annual Favorite Poem Project 2009 event program (pdf format)

Comity's submission to the 2009 Annual Favorite Poem project can be viewed at this link within.

Cloths of Heaven

by William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.


From Leaves of Grass (*) ... The Essay, Absolute Balance (**)
[and from Comity's perspective certainly entitled to be (sub)titled "The (Goal and) Apex of All Education")]
by Walt Whitman (1819- 1892)

There is, apart from mere intellect, in the makeup of every superior (***) human identity, (in its moral completeness, considered as ensemble, not for the moral alone, but for the whole being, including physique,) a wondrous something that realizes without argument, frequently without what is called education, (though I think it the goal and apex of all education deserving the name) --- an intuition of the absolute balance, in time and space, of the whole of this multifarious, mad chaos of fraud, frivolity, hoggishness --- this revel of fools, and incredible make-believe and general unsettledness, we call the world; a soul-sight of that divine clue and unseen thread which holds the whole congeries of things, all history and time, and all events, however trivial, however momentous, like a leashed dog in the hand of the hunter.


* When self-published in 1855, the first edition of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass contained but 12 poems; when the last edition was completed, the tome included nearly 400 poems and prose. Preparing the final edition of Leaves of Grass as a culmination of his life work ~ Whitman penned to a friend: "L. of G. at last complete — after 33 y'rs of hackling at it, all times & moods of my life, fair weather & foul, all parts of the land, and peace & war, young & old."

That last version of Leaves of Grass ~ often referred to as the "deathbed edition" ~ was formally released in January 1892, two months before Whitman's death ~ with an announcement was published in the New York Herald citing:

Walt Whitman wishes respectfully to notify the public that the book Leaves of Grass, which he has been working on at great intervals and partially issued for the past thirty-five or forty years, is now completed, so to call it, and he would like this new 1892 edition to absolutely supersede all previous ones. Faulty as it is, he decides it as by far his special and entire self-chosen poetic utterance.

** (Re)view the full collection of Whitman's works, published in its final form by David McKay in 1900, and subsequently published online at Bartley.com to mark its centennial anniversary: the complete final edition of Leaves of Grass ~ linked from McKay's preface ~ can found at this link without ~ which in turn links to the companion collection of Whitman's prose at this link without. Some publications merged a selection of poetry, free verse and prose. The above essay, Absolute Balance, is an excerpt from Whitman's pointed observations about Thomas Carlyle entitled "Carlyle from American Points of View" ~ which can be reviewed in its entirety at this link without.

***  Caveat to Whitman's modifier "superior":  Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted to have said, “Every man is (in some way) my superior, in that I may learn from him.”  NOTE:  Asking the kind reader to construe this includes both genders of humankind, for Emerson was to a large degree a feminist.  FURTHER NOTE:  On rare occasion, a variation of this quote is attributed to Thomas Carlyle --- given the quote was found repeated in various iterations in correspondence between the two. However, purportedly, Emerson is the source of these sentiments.


Sonnet X from Huntsman, What Quarry? (*)
by Edna St. Vincent Millay
[from a collection published in 1939 (link without)]

Upon this age, that never speaks its mind,
This furtive age, this age endowed with power
To wake the moon with footsteps, fit an oar
Into the rowlocks of the wind, and find
What swims before his prow, what swirls behind ---
Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Falls from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts ... they live unquestioned, uncombined.

Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun; but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric; undefiled
Proceeds pure Science, and has her say; but still
Upon this world from the collective womb
Is spewed all day the red triumphant child.

* (con)NOTATION: Link within to loom wisdom; link within to visit the place we can see our tomorrows dawn.


Segue ~ Questions posed ...
by one of the Knowing Ones

And once loomed, this cloth of heaven on earth, shall it serve as a blanket to "tuck in" a bedroom community? A shroud for a dead city? A fine tapestry sagging on the wall? Or shall we hoist it as sail, unfurled to catch the wind?

Each of us has weft for the wholecloth, the broadcloth and canvas --- remnants of our dreams deferred. Why not use every fiber as thrum to save the Ship's rigging? Add it as texture, giving the cloth tensile strength for the duration? For the salvation of humankind, let us together salvage every common thread of decency as a kind of selvage edge ~ to keep all matters and things from unraveling as our history unfolds. Let us not each loosely baste the patches at their margins, for is not the fabric of community strongest as a seamless weave --- daily spun?


One Thought Ever at the Fore
by Walt Whitman [WW Old Age Echoes 1891; published 1897]

One thought ever at the fore ---
That in the Divine Ship, The World, breasting Time and Space,
All Peoples of the globe together sail,
Sail the same voyage, are bound to the same destination.
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