Through the eyes of a poet

Poetry has long provided a safe outlet for people to express (and sometimes even uncover) their emotions. Many find it difficult to share their personal feelings, stories, and traumas face-to-face or in stark, realistic details – often they do not even understand these tough truths themselves – so they turn to poetry as their release. Poetry allows us to safely explore and articulate our thoughts and experiences, helping us process deep emotions and providing insights and connections to those others.

At Aseltine, we create a safe environment for our students to become open and honest with their feelings and provide opportunities for them to voice them through pen and paper. Jim the Poet (aka Jim Moreno) has provided poetry lessons to our students for 5 years, playing an integral role in our students’ poetic and emotional growth.

We recently transitioned to a new Hybrid Model, with our students on campus Monday-Tuesday, 8:30 am-1 pm, and Distance Learning Wednesday-Friday. Since October we have been grateful to have Jim the Poet join us virtually twice a month and help prompt students to express their emotions through poetry.

Here is a poem written by a high school student during a virtual lesson with Jim the Poet:

Hate DO change me.
Hate is truly more powerful than love.
Hate spreads faster than the wildfire dominating our state.
Hate spreads faster than the virus that’s ripping our nation apart and has its own mandates.
Media falsified information simply for monetary gain.
The economy’s in debt, there’s too much financial strain.
Money and power is the real hate.
It’s put in the minds of those who are deciding factors to our entire fate.
Hate seems to be easier to accept the love would ever really be.
Online drama and death threats, it’s the worse it could ever be.
Each political side has some good and some bad but nobody but themselves are willing to see.
They say you’re either all for us or not, to them there’s no in between.
Hate is just easier to see.

As a school, we have never subscribed to the philosophy that children should be sheltered from the world. On the contrary, many of our students have had to deal with harsh realities at a very young age – some have already experienced challenges most adults will never face. Instead, we believe in equipping children with the tools to understand and navigate their world. Fostering an environment where all students (and staff) feel safe, valued, understood, respected and heard allows us to explore complex, often “scary” topics and difficult personal truths together.

This poem is both a result of the open and honest conversations that are integral to an Aseltine Education and a valuable tool for starting more. These open and honest conversations about current events teach awareness and inclusiveness in our school community; they also help students learn to question their sources and listen to differing opinions with respect. We are extremely proud of this student poet’s courage to articulate his opinions about serious events so clearly and confidently.

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