“A poem begins with a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness or a lovesickness. It’s a reaching out coward expression: an effort to find fulfilment. A complete poem is one where an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” – Robert Frost
Our very talented student Amber launched her own book of poetry recently. Here’s the speech she made, and the powerful poem, Memory Lane.
“I am delighted I got the chance to launch this book. Words can’t explain what this means to me. I started writing at the end of last September when I wrote my first poem, Memory Lane. I was re-writing other poets poems when Don suggested writing my own poem. I never thought I could actually write a poem and laughed at the thought of creating something that didn’t exist before. I write when things are good but mostly when things are bad. I’ve learned throughout the years that bad experiences make great poems. I’m glad I started writing because it got me through bad times.
The 22nd of September came. It was a Tuesday. That was the day I got inspiration to write my first poem. I was on a class trip, walking through the Mardyke walk or in this case , memory lane, for Japanese class with Thomas Mulcathy the office guy and another student. It was a dry and slightly sunny day. I wasn’t one bit focused for that class. Thomas was naming things in Japanese like the sun and the flowers but unfortunately his voice was like an echo going right through me. It was eerie. The crows were cawing scarcely as if something bad were about to happen. It sort of felt like I was in a creep horror movie, like someone were about to jump out, stab me in the back and kill me. The wind was blowing through the trees making a whistling sound. This is when and where it all began.
This poem also conveys a night in my life, which changed my life. For better and for worse. It was the worst night in my life but in a crazy way I am thankful for that night because it made me realise how intoxicated I was by my peers, drugs and love. That night made me who I am today. Yeah I have many faults, as do us all but I’m now stronger, healthier and happier than I ever was before and am living my life to the full.
Shortly after that night is when I decided to get back on track, and I did. I wouldn’t have been able to do so without this centre having its existence. I’m so grateful for all the help and support this centre has provided me with and especially to the director and deputy director Don O’Leary and Rachel Lucy and for the support I’ve been given throughout the making of this book.
I am very grateful for the launching of this book and for the support I’ve been given by my mother, Don, Rachel and Thomas. I’d like to thank my mother particularly. No one has any idea how much she means to me. She stuck by me and supported me through every decision I’ve made and all the mistakes I’ve made.
I’d like to thank my dad for being here today and my friend Clodagh for being here and the support and help she has given.
I want to thank Deirdre O’Shaughnessy for taking her time out to be here to launch my book and I’d like to thank everyone that could make it here today, your support is much appreciated.
Now I will read out my first poem: ‘Memory Lane’.
I took a stroll down Memory Lane,
Down the Mardyke walkway.
As my nightmare came flashing back,
I couldn’t seem to walk off this terrifying track.
I kept stopping and looking back,
Scared that someone would stab me in the back.
I was paranoid, I was fearful,
The path was becoming dark.
As I heard the crows cawk,
There was whistling in the trees,
As my knees became weak.
This was not a nightmare,
Most certainly not a dream.
This was my head persuading me
That not everything is as it seems.
The demons living inside me scream,
‘RUN, RUN, RUN’.
I do not listen,
I just stop and stare,
At the girl who I once was,
Pathetic and scared.