Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Poem From Celebrate Holicong Day

Ever wish you had a play-by-play on how to survive middle school? Well in The List by Claire P., you can hear the advice of a Holicong "senior" and her tips on how to survive the roller coaster of middle school. This awe-inspiring poem was commissioned by the principal to present at the Celebrate Holicong Day in the assembly on December 22, 2015.

The List

When I was in 6th grade,
‪and my sister was in 8th,
‪she spent a little time every other day or so
‪to teach me how to survive in middle school.
‪I was grateful,
‪I took notes,
‪but in truth her perceptions of Holicong
‪were different than mine would be,
‪and admittedly,
‪her lessons didn't have their desired impact.
‪But what would I say
‪to a 6th grader now, 
‪who asks the same questions I did?
‪I have constructed
‪the list of what I'll remember,
‪what I'll remember 
‪after all the tests and quizzes and note-taking 
‪have faded into oblivion,
‪as they should.
‪perpetual motion 
‪is the motion of a theoretical mechanism that,
‪without any losses due to friction,
‪would continue to operate,
‪at a constant rate without external energy applied.
‪(The equivalent to
‪writing one essay,
‪and then breezing through the rest of your classes,
‪the rest of your education,
‪the rest of your life,
‪without hardships and without any more effort--
‪just that one essay.)
‪It's idyllic.
‪And impossible.
‪Physically impossible: one cannot go forward in life
‪while not supplying the needed energy
‪for as long as it takes, 
‪and must always expect to be met
‪with friction.

‪I've found x more times than I can count, 
‪and you'd think he'd have run out of hiding places by now.
‪But in searching for him,
‪I've solved obstacles,
‪deciphered problems,
‪conquered concepts that once appeared
‪bizarre and foreboding.
‪It reminds us that appearances surely aren't reflections
‪of the nature of a thing, and
‪from these obstacles we face,
‪we condition ourselves that
‪once we set our sights on something--
‪be it x, or q, or z,
‪or a career in the NBA,
‪no permutation,
‪no degree of strife,
‪can keep that
‪from us.
I'll remember how
little, curvy, pointy, I-don't-even-know--
‪made this.
‪Made everything.
‪Sounds, becoming a specially designated scratch
‪on a page, forming in coalescence with others,
‪to possess meaning,
‪to become the agreed-upon definition of "thought",
‪then transformed back into vibrations of the mouth--
‪which we've long ago discovered,
‪long ago memorized,
‪all of us somehow
‪Pain, and death, and suffering 
‪have been inspired by scratches and vibrations.
‪So has life. So has love.
‪History is an oracle of Delphi.
‪The future is told by observing the past,
‪yet when it comes to 
‪indisputable actuality,
‪you're left with only more riddles.
‪History is the practice of lending your ear
‪to phantoms,
‪who tell bygone tales,
‪stories that once occupied the space we exist in--
‪the "now".
‪These voices are of heroes, only heroes,
‪because as I've realized
‪"I am never the villain" and
‪"I am never to blame."
‪"It's the next guy."
‪There's two sides to every story, 
‪but the "I"
‪is always right.
‪Too many of us--
‪particularly along this teenage avenue of life
‪we currently trudge--
‪have difficulty discovering value.
‪Well I've discovered value is in fact
‪not so much found,
‪but created.
‪Said best by Harold Edgerton,
‪"The trick to education
‪is to teach people in such a way
‪that they don't realize they're learning
‪till it's too late."
As my sister’s perceptions of Holicong
differed from mine,
mine probably differ from yours.
But in a position
where I can offer my views to those who ask the same questions I did
I must say--
Here I thought we were simply being taught
how to read the pH of a liquid,
when in truth,
we were learning to be curious,
to be aware that while perhaps intellect is a gift,
ignorance is a choice.
We can decide whether or not
we wish to always be driven by wonder,
always be consumed with interest,
always finding x.
This is what we learned.
To question,
to solve,
what it means 
to learn.

by Claire P., Grade 9


  1. a great poem. well described and is very relatable to most 7th graders. should be read by all seventh graders.

  2. Good Poem, Good Job

  3. "I've found x more times than I can count,

    ‪and you'd think he'd have run out of hiding places by now." I like the choice of words used in this stanza. The metaphor makes me like it even more.

  4. "I've found x more times than I can count,

    ‪and you'd think he'd have run out of hiding places by now." I like the metaphor choice.

  5. "I've found x more times than I can count,

    ‪and you'd think he'd have run out of hiding places by now." I like the metaphor choice.

  6. Wow this was good! I really liked it!

  7. It was a very nice poem that used good vocabulary.