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Poetically Yours - Six more weeks of winter

Andy Sanchez - Unsplash.com

Welcome to Poetically Yours. Poetically Yours showcases poems by Northern Illinois poets. This poem is by Carol Obertubbesing.

Obertubbesing grew up in Union City, New Jersey and saw the New York skyline every day of her life until she left. In 1969, she became part of the first coed class at Princeton University. She calls that the defining event of her life.

The Princeton Alumni Weekly published an article she wrote about her experience as one of the first women to attend Princeton. She returned to Princeton almost every year for reunions and other events and now serves as Regional Vice President for the Class of 1973. In 2019, she organized a national conference held in Chicago to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Undergraduate Coeducation at Princeton. Last year, the University gave her the Distinguished Service to Princeton Award.

Obertubbesing has served on the Board ofWoodstock Folk Festival since 1993 and has organized the festival’s virtual performances for the past two years.

She’s worked in public tv and radio. She was the director of Outreach at WGBH, and at PBS she was the associate director of the Elementary and Secondary Service. She said she is an avid listener of public radio.

This week’s poem “February Awakening” was written for the celebration of Groundhog Day. Obertubbesing lives in Woodstock, Illinois -- film site for the movie Groundhog Day.

Come to those who seek the light.

February 1, we honor St. Brigid of Kildare

With crosses and parades for the one we consecrate

The patron saint of babies, midwives, farmers, and poets

She who brings us from darkness to light.

The next morn, we awake to Candlemas

With crepes and dances for the Christ incarnate

Honoring the Child in the Temple and the Virgin of the Candles

They who bring us from darkness to light.

The vigilant buck-toothed face peeks out of its burrow

The polka band plays while we eagerly wait

“Will he or won’t he?” we all want to know

Will we move from darkness to light?

Called Phil, Willie, Dave, Chuck, Jimmy, and Gus

They’re joined together on this special date

Known as marmot, woodchuck, and whistle-pig

They all proclaim whether it will be darkness or light.

Feasting on twigs, branches, flowers, and berries

He builds a chambered burrow to hibernate

As he emerges on this cold, gray morning

We want him to signal the move from dark to light.

As we step into the puddle of life

Give us the hope to which we all relate

Seer of Seers and Prognosticator of Prognosticators

Be the beacon leading us from dark to light.

Who doesn’t love this winter Festival

That makes us wrestle with luck and fate

We twirl through the snow-filled streets

In search of love, peace, laughter, and light.

And if he sees his shadow today

We learn that lesson blessed and great

Patience gives its own reward

We can lead each other to the light.

Disappointment builds resilience

Peace and love follow war and hate

Transformation and redemption

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.
Yvonne covers artistic, cultural, and spiritual expressions in the COVID-19 era. This could include how members of community cultural groups are finding creative and innovative ways to enrich their personal lives through these expressions individually and within the context of their larger communities. Boose is a recent graduate of the Illinois Media School and returns to journalism after a career in the corporate world.