SHC Spoken Word: The Voice of Urban Youth

Eighteen SHC poets took to the stage earlier this month for the second student-organized spoken word event this school year. Poems performed ranged in topics from love and ethics to intolerance and death, all expressed from the perspective of urban youth. 

Eighteen SHC poets took to the stage earlier this month for the second student-organized spoken word event this school year. Poems performed ranged in topics from love and ethics to intolerance and death, all expressed from the perspective of urban youth. There was certainly no shortage of passion exuding from the performers onstage. Instructor of English David Pardini ’80 shares, "The greatest quality of SHC Spoken Word is that this event is entirely student-centered, featuring students leading, planning, publicizing, hosting and deejaying. Moreover, the poems arise entirely from the imaginative genius of our poets, with only creative suggestions and feedback from SHC's Spoken Word leadership and community."

Student-poet Kieran Byrne ’16 reflects, "Spoken Word is a fantastic event at SHC because it allows kids to come up onstage and share freely about themselves with a positive, supportive audience." Kieran opened the event with his piece entitled Birdseed reproduced here for your enjoyment.

BIRDSEED

When I wake up and see the sunshine through the blinds I'm reminded
The air from the spring window is like paradise.

It’s like hot dirt
and turned turf
and rolling earth
Over which the roads run free
With swifter legs than these
I'm soaring six feet above the ground
to symphonies of sprinting sound

Like April showers and May flowers
And young lovers in bell towers
stone church bells in steel citadels
Soft rhymes oft misspelled by
young minds soaring sky high

And they'll sing songs about what we did here
The mountains we climbed, the monsters they feared
The heroes were bold in the stories they told
A daring princess and the dragon’s gold
Fearsome outlaws riding the West
Frightened children under blankets they nest
Our brave heroes tell tales around the campfire
Until one by one their eyes tire
The next day, rosy-fingered dawn launches swift odysseys into ocean and sky.

We can see the sun and flashing leaves
My body sinks and swells like the rolling seas
And on such a full sea we are now afloat
only to act like we’re not all on the same boat
The cresting waves are mothers and fathers
Carrying us to uncharted waters
And without the ark Noah couldn’t have saved the lark
but hark! Where would young lovers be
Had not Juliet shown her head to the East
A shining sunrise above shining sea

And the songs that left her lips
Made the trojans launch a thousand ships
Crashing fierce upon the shore
Her visage inspires songs forevermore.

In atoms we are united
nuclear is our division
Like angels our feet alighted
like stars our fire arisen
So it is gravity you feel in your soul
Acting like your tears don’t roll
with the grace of the Orinoco flow
Like your thoughts aren’t part of the twinkling of the galaxies
and the singing quasars and
Just because your skin is cratered and scarred
like the face of Mars doesn’t mean you’re not part of the stars
Like your twinkling eyes that lit up the skies
In their wake lies
The glistening contours of musical scores
so let’s not pretend like we’re foes and we're friends
It’s all gonna be light in the end

And if I made songs they would sound like this
like the singing of birds like the laughing of kids
But I can’t sing or hold a tune
I’d rather listen to the room

Because music comes from what you hear
The words we share they’re ringing clear
so all I ask is strength of voice
My words to make songbirds rejoice

So why don’t you sit with me on the hillside and watch the sunrise
and we’ll throw seeds to the songbirds below

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