Word is just getting out about an achievement by a young poet at West Seattle High School. Freshman Charli Elliott read one of her poems at a Seattle Arts and Lectures poetry event at Benaroya Hall in December. The headliner was award-winning poet Terrance Hayes, in the next photo with Charli, who read a poem inspired by his work.
WSHS shared it with us, to share with you:
Freedom of Speech
by Charli Elliott
I want to always rise to the
Challenge. I want to never sit alone.
I want to learn to talk and be heard.
I want to watch as the grass grows
Old and dies. Month after month. Year after year.
I want to see. If the moon can rise
Every night, I want the taste
Of freedom on the tip of my tongue
I want to touch you, dance with you on
A cloud made of light. I want to lose myself
In the labyrinth and rolling waves
Of your eyes. I want to free myself
Of hate. I want to be free from the shackles of freedom.
I want to be free, and free of freedom,
With its cold irons clasped on your wrists. Its
Frenzied thoughts, its open plains, and definition
Tied neatly with a bow. I want to be free of
Words without meaning and listlessness. My anger,
My loss and apologies, my doubt.
If the rain can cleanse the earth
I want a fresh soul. I want the stones wisdom
And the earth’s flexibility. I want the lights
Ubiquity, but not its invisible touch
I want the reliance of the sun, but not its fury.
I want the strength of the universe. I want to search
The rolling hills of elsewhere and find
You there. I want the tips of your fingers
In the small of my back. I want to be the tree
But not the leaves. I do not want to be the grass
I do not want to be the dew covered spider web,
Or the spider. When I leave this body
I want to be sheer power. I want to have a voice.
(Charli’s proud mom, by the way, is Sonya Elliott, who coaches her and other athletes on the WSHS girls’ basketball team, and is also a writer.)