Friday, July 26, 2013

POETRY FRIDAY: Charleston Nights

My boys and I are in Charleston for a few days, visiting my sister Elizabeth. We have made many visits over the years, and each time we savor the charm and ambience of the city, regardless of the season. We’ve visited plantations and historic homes, toured a Navy ship and submarine, viewed the Hunley in its preservation tank, walked the beaches, glimpsed a lighthouse, tiptoed through cemeteries, followed in the footsteps of the earliest settlers at Charles Towne Landing, made the harbor voyage to Fort Sumter in what was quite possibly the coldest weather I have *ever* experienced this far south, and much more.

Last night we walked along the eastern edge of the city and visited Waterfront Park, a beautiful, kid-friendly park with a splashing fountain, pier, and stunning views of Charleston Harbor. As we strolled along, the boys pointed out Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, tried to find the U.S.S. Yorktown far across the water, breathed in the smell of pluff mudd, and delighted in a dolphin swimming close by. We remembered the projects and reports they worked so hard on during the past school year, discussed the devastating fire and earthquake that wreaked havoc upon the city in the 1860s, and talked about the old city walls and whether or not they are old enough to go on a ghost tour (“Not yet,” was my answer).

Will and Ben in front of the fountain
 
It is always fun for me to see the dawning of understanding when children make real connections between what they have been taught in school and what they experience in the “real world.” Charleston is more than good food, great gelato, and fun tourist attractions—I have long known this, and I am glad that my boys are learning this lesson so young. As I sit on my sister’s screened-in back porch drinking iced coffee, writing, and watching my puppy play, the early-morning sounds of the nearby salt marsh draw me in and I look forward to our day ahead.
I hope you enjoy my poem for today! Happy Writing! 
  
CHARLESTON NIGHTS
As twilight falls, the line between past and present blurs.
Lessons forgotten in summer’s lull surface like the dolphins                           playing in the pink harbor water,
Bringing projects and tests and restless study sessions to life.
History is not just stuff teachers talk about.
Sumter and Hunley, sweetgrass and slavery are more than words;
They are threads that compose the city’s fabric, for better or for worse.
The night comes, suspended between then and now,
While crickets and cicadas clamor in the swaying palmettos.

 
I pulled them in for a hug, but not fast
enough to catch the dolphin in the photo!
 

18 comments:

  1. Yes, Charleston seems to be an amazing place loaded with stories, and probably ghosts. Look at you there with your boys.... Awesome.

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    1. We learn new stories every time we visit, Mirka! = )

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  2. I loved reading this post! I've been dying to go to Charleston for couple of years now. It's where my next story is going to take place at, and I'd love to see it in person sometime!

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    1. I highly recommend a visit to Charleston, Leandra. If you go, consider staying at Middleton Place Inn. It is on the property of an old rice plantation outside the city, and is beautiful and quite reasonable for Charleston prices. I hope you get to visit soon!

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  3. Wonderful! SO happy you are there visiting. Enjoy! I miss you and love you! :-)

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    1. Miss you, Laura! We had fun, but wish all of you could have been there, too! = )

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  4. I enjoyed the "crickets and circadas clamor in the swaying palmetos." great line. i like the assonance and alliteration. nicely done.

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  5. Your poems gives a real sense of place. And time.

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    1. Thanks, Mary Lee. It is fun to try to capture this within the confines of a poem!

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  6. I like the sound of your visit!

    "The night comes, suspended between then and now" -- I can feel what you mean. Also, I like that the lessons "surface." Great description.

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  7. How great that your boys are getting to experience history first hand. I especially love the sound of "Sumter and Hunley, sweetgrass and slavery" and also crickets and cicadas clamor.

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    1. Thanks, Carol. We also visited Fort Moultrie this weekend and learned even more about the area! I hope all of this "sticks" in the boys' brains! = )

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  8. Lovely poem! It makes me want to visit Charleston.

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  9. I don't blame you for not taking them on the ghost walk yet. Sounds like a good trip, and I like your poem.

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  10. Charleston is on my short list of places to visit. Your post just made me want to go there more. Lovely poem.

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  11. What a fun time you must have had! I loved the line: "threads that compose the city’s fabric" in your poem!

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