The Isle of Skye

The Isle of Skye

 

The Isle of Skye

What if there was
another you who lived on the Isle of Skye?

And what if, in the soft light of that
other home,
you forgot to think the thoughts
that hold you back?

What if, in the mist,
you knew all,
you forgave all,
and you remembered to be
oh so gentle with yourself?

What if you, on the Isle of Skye,
could just breathe,
wearing a warm sweater
and half a smile?

And what if your heart’s own work just flowed out of you –
lipping in between the endless hills and endless sea – a balm unto the world?

© 2014 Samantha Bennett

 

Ode To The Drama Teacher

Ode To The Drama Teacher

Ode To The Drama Teacher

And as you stand there: Aghast

Because we’re three days from Opening Night and

Ado Annie still doesn’t know her lines and

The Dream Ballet is a Nightmare and

The Light Board Op just got Detention…

Let us now praise You.

You, the Permanently Fatigued.

You, the Loyal-to-the-Point-of-Self-Neglect.

You, the Keeper of a Thousand-and-Eleventeen Secret Dreams.

You are the one who makes it all Look So Easy.

Who would have expected that the most important Skill you learned getting your BA
Was Juggling?

Juggling Paperwork and Personalities and oh, right – weren’t you supposed to have a
Private Life around here somewhere?

But even though you are Sick to Death of
Spoon River Anthology

You still puddle up every time you hear
There’s A Place For Us

No matter how Off-Key.

And while you still remember when you
Brought the House Down in
Midsummer

You now love This House.

You have created a House where any child – no matter how Flamboyant, no matter how Shy –

Can embrace their Inner Ethel Merman (and thanks to those English 101 classes you now must teach, you are keenly aware that using “their” in the previous sentence is increasingly considered correct and honestly, it’s really the only sensible answer as writing “his or her” is as damaging to poetry as the participle that dangles.)

And you have created a House where any child – no matter how Flamboyant, no matter how Shy – can dive straight to the Deepest, Darkest, Quietest corner of human suffering and bring a room of teenagers – and yes, you, too – to silent tears.

You have made a Home for the Misunderstood

A Family for the Misfit and a

Safe Spot to land no matter how bad The Mid-Terms are.

Because despite all the Budget Cuts and The Paperwork and

The Meetings about the Meeting to Schedule the Meetings and

The Truancies and The Parents

Dear God The Parents and

Did we mention The Paperwork?

Nothing on this Green Earth compares to watching a group of kids
Learn the true meaning of Ensemble.

And nothing compares to the pure joy of watching The Ones whom you knew would Eventually Get It

Finally. Really. Get It.

And nothing nothing nothing compares to The Confidences shared in low tones as they seek you out in

Your Office,

The Choir Room

The Front Seat of the Van on the way home from Fullerton.

You aren’t teaching Drama.

You are teaching Life

Which we all know is a Comedy – a Chekhovian Comedy – but a Comedy nonetheless.

And you aren’t teaching Choreography

You are teaching them to Dance.

And you aren’t teaching them how to be a Character.

You are teaching them how to be Themselves.

So here’s to you –

Making room for Art in a world that seems to have no room for Art.

(Because, by the way, that room has been re-purposed as the new Standardized Test Prep Center – you don’t mind rehearsing outside, do you?)

And here’s to you –

Scrounging around for new shows that somehow match the sets you already have

Because some Genius on the School Board has

Recently Announced that not only can you not perform Huckleberry Finn

Or Anouilh’s Antigone (probably because he couldn’t pronounce it) and

Given the flap over theScene from M. Butterfly last year, I guess
March of the Falsettos and The Vagina Monologues are

Out of the Question for the Spring

So Oh Dear God it looks like it’s going to be
Arsenic And Old Lace one more blessed time.

But that’s OK

I love Arsenic And Old Lace.

So here’s to you –

Making room for Another Coffee Mug with
Those Damn Masks on them

Making room in the Chorus for
Just One More

And

Making room for Each and Every Child

To Be

A

Star.

© 2011 Samantha Bennett
If you would like to share or reprint this poem, I’d be honored. Please be sure to credit me properly by including my full name and website address (© 2011 Samantha Bennett, https://theorganizedartistcompany.com).

An Ode To The Overwhelmed

An Ode To The Overwhelmed

And as you stand there

Late again

Because you forgot to allow time to park
And the elevator was slow

And you left 10 minutes late to begin with
With your shoes that pinch

And your pants that are a little too small
Since you started eating white bread again

And as you paw through your bag
Looking for the suite number
That you’re not sure you wrote down to begin with

Let us now praise you.

You, the untidy.

You, the careless.

You, the easily distracted by sparkly things.

The money you spend on late fees alone
Could feed a family in Africa –

Which reminds you that you meant to send in the kids’ Unicef money and
Forgot.

And that despite your best efforts,
You rarely eat a square meal,
You almost never get enough sleep

And exercise seems like a word that magazines have developed
Just to make you feel bad about yourself.

But you are good and brave.

You, flying by the seat of your pants

Making it work

Putting out fires

Saying your prayers

And dancing your dance of now and later and maybe and

I’ll–have-to-call-you-back-on-that-could-you-send-me-an-email-to-remind-me-to-call-you-back-on-that?

As innocent as each morning’s sunrise,

You are a fount of good intentions.

Your good humor is as graceful as a baby giraffe,
Even if that joke you were trying to make to the hotel clerk fell flat
And your toast at the wedding came out sounding a little….funny.

But you have gifts that no one knows about.

You have the strength to bend in the wind

You have the joyful spirit that loves a good belly laugh,

You have the wisdom to understand that everything will all come out all right in the end and

You have the faith to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.

That is, if you could find the book of matches from that romantic restaurant that you went to for your anniversary but since you didn’t have a reservation they made you wait at the bar for half an hour during which you had two appletinis and the rest of the night is a bit of a blur.

So much for the overpriced lingerie.

You are beautiful.

You are beautiful.

Frazzled and overworked and underpaid

You are the one who forgot your wallet

And forgot your receipt for the dry cleaners

And forgot your keys which you just set down five seconds ago, so where could they possibly have gone?

But you never forget to say, “I love you”

And you never forget to give a big smile to that nice parking guy

And you never fail to show endless patience when the

Too-tightly wrapped and overly-conscientious start to offer their Oh-so-helpful suggestions about how you might feel better if you would just learn to alphabetize your spice rack.

You are beautiful.

So, wear the lingerie on Monday for no reason.

And why not just refuse to participate in the bake sale this year?

And give yourself a compliment for something you did well today.

Because you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known.

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Dear God,

I have made a piece that everyone loves, but God, I don’t think it’s very good.

I know, it’s a weird problem to have.

The thing is, it’s not my best work. I feel uncomfortable being praised for
work I’m not that proud of. It’s hard enough receiving compliments I think I
do deserve, much less ones I know I don’t.

Oh. Wait.

I just remembered that I am not responsible for other people’s experiences
of my work.

I am only responsible for creating and curating my work.

And all of my work is made in praise of You.

So how can that ever be “less than?”

God, help me get over my own snobbishness, ego and false modesty. Help
me to feel the love that others are sharing with me.

Help me work and live always from the center of a joyful, humble heart.

Your heart.

Love,
Me

A Prayer for Hoping against Hope

A Prayer for Hoping against Hope

And as you stand there

Hands clasped in front of you

Eyes downcast

Concealing the disobedient pounding of your heart
It dawns on you:

Here we go again.

And while you no longer allow yourself the long, elaborate
daydreams in which everything works out perfectly,
You catch yourself thinking: Well, it could happen.

And though you have long since given up making bargains
with God,

You find yourself whispering: Please.

And since you have — years ago — quit telling
Anyone anything about anything
Because honestly,
The things people say, such as,

“Oh, it will happen for you, I just know it!”

Really?

“I have a friend who went through the same thing and then one
day, just like magic. . .”

Really?

“The minute you stop wanting it, that’s when it will happen.”

Oh. Okay.

So you haven’t told a soul.

Except, after long consideration, your very dearest best friend.

And you know the odds are against you.

And still

You know that life is not a numbers game and
The Lord does, indeed, move in some very mysterious ways and

Haven’t you earned —
And there you stop short.

Because life is also not about earning or deserving,

And it doesn’t matter how hard you’ve tried or how much you’ve
sacrificed or how positive your positive mental attitude has
been.

What matters is reality.

And reality says: It’s possible.

So you dwell in possibility.

Between the dark and the daylight.

No longer storming off, slamming doors, and swearing, “Never
again.”

No longer crying out in agony because you had been so sure this
was It.

No longer elated by another promising sign.

You are here now.

Committed to enjoying the ride.

Trusting in the friendliness of the universe.

Awakened to your heart’s desire.

Knowing that there is no such thing as false hope.

All hope is real.

Real. Hope. Now.

It’s all we have.

And who knows?

Perhaps the best really is
Yet to come.

A Prayer for the Capable

A Prayer for the Capable

And as you stand there
On time and Appropriately clad for the event
With a high-fiber bar in your bag
And extra pens

Let us take this moment to applaud you.

You, the prepared.

You, the accomplished.

You, the bills-paid-on-time and the-taxes-done-in-March.

You, who always returns the shopping cart.

You, who never throws a tantrum.

While the moody, the irresponsible, the near-hysterical, and the
rude seem to get ALL the attention

Let us now praise you.

Just because everyone always expects you to do well.

Does not make it any less remarkable

That you always do so well.

So thank you.

For picking up the slack

For not imposing

For being so kind

And mannerly

And attending to all those pesky details.

Thank you for your consideration,

Your generosity,

For always remembering and never forgetting:

That a job well done is its own reward

That the opportunity to help someone else is a gift

That the complainers, the crybabies, the drama queens, the never-use-a-turn-signals, the forgetful, the self-involved, the choleric, the phlegmatic, and the your-rules-don’t-apply-tome-types

Need you to rebel against in order to look like rebels.

You provide the lines — for without the lines, well, what would they color outside of?

So take a minute To pat yourself on the back

And say, “Job well done.”

And as you consider someday

Showing up stoned

Or unprepared

Or not at all

And as you imagine someday being imperious

Or demanding

Or the one with the temper

Hear  the unspoken “thank-you” from a

Grateful nation that is a

Better, smarter, calmer, easier, friendlier, and more organized place

Thanks to you

And your dogged diligence.

You are beautiful.

You are precious to us.

You are the hand that calms the water, the wheel that never
squeaks, the one we all rely on

And while you probably would have remembered to send a thank you
note,

We forgot.

And just because everyone always expects you

To do well

Does not make it any less remarkable

That you always do so well.

And I would tell you to take the afternoon for yourself
Or sleep in tomorrow

But I’m pretty sure you already have plans.

So just take this very moment right now
To appreciate you

And all that you have done and done well

Even by your own high standards.

And remember:

You are beautiful.

And just because everyone always expects you to
Do well

Does not make it any less amazing, delightful, or delicious that
You always do so well.