It has been quite awhile since I joined the Poetry Friday community, hosted this week by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater of The Poem Farm. I thought of sharing a poem today as I was deeply moved and saddened by the passing of one of Singapore’s Founding Fathers, Lee Kuan Yew, Minister Mentor. As I ponder on how much Singapore is mourning over the loss of a great man and reflect on Good Friday, which marks the death of Jesus Christ, poetry brings solace and peace once again as seen in this beautiful book: This Place I Know: Poems Of Comfort with poems selected by Georgia Heard and illustrations done by 18 renowned picture book artists.
This collection of 18 poems was gathered together by Georgia Heard during the wake of the World Trade Center Tragedy to provide some semblance of meaning to young people who have witnessed and lived through this cataclysmic event. In the Author’s Note, Georgia Heard stated:
As I read through poems for inclusion in this anthology, I kept asking myself one question: What words can comfort? I tried to choose poems that touch upon our feelings of fear and loss, remind us that we are not alone in despair, and assure us that dreams can be born even from tragedy.
There were familiar poems such as Emily Dickinson’s hope is the thing with feathers and Langston Hughes’ Dreams, but there were also a few that spoke to me in a new voice such as Wendell Berry’s The Peace Of Wild Things:
Most of the poems are also inspirational such as Louise Driscoll’s Hold Fast Your Dreams and quite empowering with Trouble, Fly by Susan Marie Swanson. The illustrations provided by the award-winning artists are equally uplifting. Here are a few of my favourites:
The poem that provided me with the most comfort as I grieve alongside Singapore with LKY’s passing is Nancy Wood’s Strengthen the Things That Remain. I hope this poem provides you with a sense of quiet too this Good Friday.
This Place I Know: Poems of Comfort. Poems Selected by Georgia Heard and illustrations by Eighteen Renowned Picture Book Artists. Published by Candlewick Press, 2002. Book borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.