I am at Y finallY! Yes, I yooked and yunted all over, y’all, but did not find a device (save one, but needed it for Z – will let you in on it in the letter Z) or a movement that started with this letter. There are poets, of course: who can forget Yeats? But considering I just did the poet X or well, a ‘X’ poet, I decided on a poem instead. This is a poem I have read a few times over the past years (though I am not sure what led me to it), but each time I did, it touched my heart and inspired me. It reminded me of how our words and actions have a greater, stronger, and longer reach than we know or think. And so, dear readers, sharing the same with you; for, it is true indeed that You Can Never Tell the Many Ways You Matter.
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You Can Never Tell the Many Ways You Matter
I first thought about writing something additional before Wilcox’s poem; but realized the thoughts I had were parallel to her beautiful words! So I am letting her words say them all.
You Can Never Tell
By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
You can never tell when you send a word
Like an arrow shot from a bow
By an archer blind, be it cruel or kind,
Just where it will chance to go.
It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend,
Tipped with its poison or balm;
To a stranger’s heart in life’s great mart
It may carry its pain or its calm.
You never can tell when you do an act
Just what the result will be,
But with every deed you are sowing a seed,
Though its harvest you may not see.
Each kindly act is an acorn dropped
In God’s productive soil;
Though you may not know, yet the tree shall grow
And shelter the brows that toil.
You never can tell what your thoughts will do
In bringing you hate or love,
For thoughts are things, and their airy wings
Are swifter than carrier doves.
They follow the law of the universe—
Each thing must create its kind,
And they speed o’er the track to bring you back
Whatever went out from your mind.
Title: Yellow Star
Author: Jennifer Roy
Length: 258 pages
Genre: Children’s Novels in Verse/Historical (9 – 12 years, and up)
Publisher: Two Lions; First Edition (May 15, 2012)
Source: My copy
Description: The niece of Syvia Perlmutter, one of only twelve child survivors of the Lodz ghetto in Poland, shares her aunt’s experiences of the Holocaust in free verse that relates the courage and heartbreak she lived during a time of terrible circumstances.
My Current Thoughts
This is a book I knew I had to read as soon as I saw it (two days ago). I ordered a digital copy to get started on it as I could not find one soon enough at the library and am more than halfway through now. And like with previous reads about concentration camps and the Holocaust, has had me in tears a few times already. Also, just like the other reads, it is also one that shows the strength of those who endured and those who survived the horrors they shouldn’t have had to in the first place.
Written in beautiful, haunting free verse, Yellow Star tells the true story of Syvia Perlmutter, who was one of only twelve children who survived the Lodz ghetto. Roy effortlessly manages to capture the child’s voice in the poetic narrative throughout the book. It is interspersed with text at regular intervals giving more information as well as excerpts of Roy’s interviews with Syvia. A book that has kept me thinking about how something like this could have happened at all, though it did.
Each story written about this period offers yet another look at the heartbreak and suffering, and on the other hand, the strength and hope of those who lived through it. It makes the readers pause and reflect, and hope that humankind learns from history.
While there are still acts of persecution happening everywhere across the world, the stories of survivors such as Syvia also gives us hope and strength.
Some Quotes And Additional Thoughts
There are way too many lines I have highlighted in this book already; so I randomly picked a couple to share with you:
When her mother stitches the yellow star on her coat
I wish I could
rip the star off
(carefully, stitch by stitch, so as not to
my lovely coat),
because yellow is meant to be
a happy color,
not the color of
When they run short of rations:
Mother does not eat her meal.
She gives it to me instead.
She does not say “I love you” in hugs or kisses,
but her love fills my plate,
and I gobble it up.
Words of wisdom from Syvia’s Papa
“We must honor our differences while we
find our own courage and our own strength
the best we know how.”
While many of the people in the book touched my heart, Syvia’s father is certainly proving to be my hero of this book (with what I have read so far)
This is a book for everyone to read. Moving, heart wrenching, inspiring, heartbreaking, read that is simply beautiful in its lyrical voice.
Get It Here
You Can Fly
Title: You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen
Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: Jeffery Boston Weatherford
Length: 96 pages
Genre: Children’s Poetry/Multicultural Biographies, Historical Fiction (9 – 12 years)
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers; Illustrated edition (May 3, 2016)
Source: Library copy
Description: Award-winning author Carole Boston Weatherford’s innovative history in verse celebrates the story of the Tuskegee Airmen: pioneering African-American pilots who triumphed in the skies and past the color barrier.
I recalled reading about the Tuskegee Airmen in a book last year (but can’t recall which one). What I do recall was the feeling it left with me; about how or why the color of skin impacted lives then, and sadly, does so even today.
Here are my thoughts on various aspects of this book
Packed With Information!!
Within these pages, Weatherford manages to pack a lot of solid information. The note at the end of the book mentions that the stories and references to historical events, as well as real people and places are used fictitiously. But we still learn a lot about the Tuskegee Airmen, and their contributions to WWII.
There are the stories about the Tuskegee Airmen in general and a few about specific people. I was introduced to Dorie Miller, Lena Hart, and so many more. She talks about the attitudes that pervaded society at the time, and the experiences of these pilots. In addition, she provides historical facts, statistics and details about the Airmen as well as the planes and more.
Backmatter includes an author’s note, a detailed timeline, as well as a rich list of resources.
The Poems Themselves
I do enjoy free verse; but not all the poems appealed to me here. However, like with any collection, some of them stood out to me, like Ground School, Second Lieutenant, or The Fight Song.
Line from Second Lieutenant where one anon airman talks about graduation day and his mom.
You have never stood so tall
or seen her smile as long.
And the Rest
The illustrations are based on actual photos; and while I did like them as they provided a sense of reality and identification with the Tuskegee airmen, maybe the placement of the art in the digital format I read the book did not do them enough justice.
Overall, a great way to learn about an important part of African American history in the classroom and elsewhere.
Get It Here
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, as always, and always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions, as well as recommendations. Have you read the featured books or any similar reads? And what about the featured poem? Have you read other poems by Wilcox? Any favorites? Any other poetic suggestions for the letter Y?
The AtoZ Challenges
You can find all my A2Z Challenge Posts here.