A Pause For Poetry

Jul 22, 2016

Poet Susan Porterfield
Credit Dan Klefstad

Recently, it seems like familiar fault lines are reappearing in American society:

Divisions involving race.

Violence involving police and their local communities.

Concerns about immigration.

Questions about where each of us stands in relation to our neighbor.

Poet Susan Azar Porterfield also has been thinking of this and recorded two poems for WNIJ which speak to this moment.

In the audio link above, Porterfield reads "Higgs Boson Poem" from her forthcoming book Dirt, Root, Silk published by Cider Press Review.

Porterfield also wrote a poem for WNIJ called "When People Tell Me" which we include below:

When People Tell Me

the world is spinning out of control,

I wonder which world?  Whose control?

When they say we’re divided,

I listen for the message behind their words.

Ask Caesar, he played the old game—

                  those people aren’t your friend, I am

Ask any middle-school girl—

                  that loser’s not like us

What moves my hand, moves yours.

We rise and sleep, die and are born.

My hand, split in two, is still my hand

and would look like yours.

We are particles of energy, the same.

My hand will decay like yours

and like yours circle back into earth.

Meanwhile, the sun will go down

and climb, everything will continue

to be made up of everything else,

neutrinos, electrons, quarks,

which means we can’t be strangers

at core.  The world will go on spinning

but not any faster than usual

and not out of control.

Susan Porterfield is a Professor Emerita at Rockford University. Earlier this year she judged WNIJ's first-ever poetry contest.