Editor’s note: The writer responds to an item in the July 30 edition of the Independent with a poem.
From “Statement on Hacking Incident at Middlebury Selectboard Meeting” July 28:
“For the second time in as many weeks the Town has been confronted with the ugly reality of racism. As leaders of this community, we stand with them and with one voice denounce all such acts of intolerance and the malicious persons who commit them.”
The ugly reality of racism
is your asking me where I’m from and not taking New York for an answer
is the foreigner status bank form you unquestioningly asked me to...
“Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
— John Lewis, 2018
You, John, just twenty years old
How dared you demand a seat at that color-sensitized counter?
Your skin, the tone of dignity and courage Bloodied and bruised
By white segregationists’ moral anemia
That day, John, you got in good trouble.
A year or so later
Rock Hill, South Carolina
One of thirteen Freedom Fighters
You strode into that train station’s waiting room Ignoring the required ticket —white skin
Beaten, bludgeoned, nearly to...
The We of Rayshard Brooks
Isn’t it a privilege
to fall asleep
in the front seat
of your car,
pass out, some nights,
from a night
And not worry.
Not worry you could
Having been found,
and not asked just
to move along.
Shake off the night.
To drive through
the drive-through, sober
or drunk from drinking
in the stars, through
you could afford
Between the black
and white lines
in a parking lot.
A few spaces reserved
for the disoriented.
As I sit here, a grandmother and a great-grandmother, in the middle of this pandemic, a time we have never had to deal with before, I watch how it affects so many.
There are so many questions, so many fears, so many rules to get used to, it’s frustrating and hard for all of us, especially the little children. A time of no playmates, no play dates, school at home, no times to go out and eat or go to a movie, and so many rules.
As difficult as it is for us, imagine what it’s like to be an active seven-year-old, who goes back and forth between mom and dad in the midst of all this who is trying...
I am ashamed at what has been happening in our nation
lately, disregard for human life, property and safety.
I am ashamed at being born white, living in an affluent
community, attending a proper New England boarding school,
attending an Ivy League University.
I am ashamed, as a child of the 50s, that my father had a
black yard man he called “boy,” our neighbors had a
black maid who lived in their attic and I thought nothing of it.
I am ashamed that at school every morning I recited
the Pledge of Allegiance ending with “liberty and justice for all”
and believed it to be so.
Lucy Poduschnik, a seventh grade student at Middlebury Union Middle School wrote these two poems, Her words reflect the experience that she and many of her peers are having during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I glance out the window hoping to see somebody,
The games are spread across the ground after being played over and over
I will myself to stay sane,
I pinch myself to see if maybe I am just dreaming,
Someone I hardly know stares back at me in the mirror,
A terrible bedhead,
pajamas with baggy knees after being worn all day,
square eyes from so much time on the computer,...
MIDDLEBURY RESIDENT MIRIAM Hardy has not let the COVID-19 pandemic interfere with her love of writing poetry. Hardy, 84, has penned a series of poems called “Views from the Inside Out,” which describe the things she can see from the windows in her home while she’s staying safe during the pandemic.
Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — Miriam Hardy has spent the majority of her 84 years writing poetry. Like her great-aunt and her mom before her, Hardy has enjoyed writing odes to people, places and things that inspire her.
But her world has shrunk considerably since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the Northeast three months ago. While she’s able to take short walks with a friend near her home on the edge of Middlebury’s downtown, Hardy is unable to get out and about like she used to because of strict social distancing she follows to stay safe.
But she’s a strong, resourceful person, and there’s no way a...
Pajamas on and belly full
I sat on the edge of my bed
Learning the news of my year half written
Boatloads of posts and texts and sadness
Seniors crying and parents disappointed
but glad to hold on just a bit longer
How do you feel the loss of something
you’ve never had before?
Never have I had the end of my senior year
Never have I graduated
Never have I turned 18
Never have I lost as much as others have right now
How do you grieve?
Confused about my apathy
and stuck with a feeling of guilt
Realizing I don’t know how to let go
I can’t make myself cry
The space between
The night and day
The middle ground that does not stay
In the day,
the shining sun pierces through my squinting eyes.
Heat burns my thoughts
and melts my integrity, as my body slowly fries.
In the night,
the moon does naught, to warm or light my soul
As the canvas covers all
leaving me blind
and lost in the cold.
I cannot live, in blinding brilliance, or disparaging darkness.
I prefer those perfect minutes
when the world falls to a still
when the cicadas are in bed
but before the peepers start to trill.
The heat has lost its oomph, but
the ice has yet to settle...
(Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) - Chipman Hill – 4/7/20)
I sing these trails of my homeland,
with elegiac footfalls
on layers of fallen foliage.
A green-yellow striped garden snake
slithers and crinkles over dried leaves
then freezes in camouflage.
We consider each other.
Snake neither knows nor cares
about the 2020 plague,
Corona virus – our crown of thorns –
something between living and not.
But it brings us to our knees.
Climbing above the cloud of contagion
that hangs over my village below
like valley smog,
I breathe deep the respite,
and feel curious camaraderie