West Seattle High School student’s poetic moment at Benaroya

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.)

5 Replies to "West Seattle High School student's poetic moment at Benaroya"

  • timeslid January 13, 2012 (2:32 pm)

    Congratulations Charli! You have written a wonderful poem and it is great to have you as part of our community. Way to go.

  • datamuse January 13, 2012 (2:44 pm)

    Congratulations, Charli! That’s a gorgeous poem–reminds me of Mary Oliver. Good work!

  • Delridge Neighbor January 13, 2012 (4:08 pm)

    Charli, what a beautiful poem! How inspiring.

  • Marie M January 13, 2012 (4:16 pm)

    Charli, you DO have a voice. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • April January 13, 2012 (10:58 pm)

    You are the change you want to see in the world. Thanks for sharing what your soul spoke!

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