“We Are Made of Stars”
A boy once told me,
We are made of stars.
I imagined bits of shine
broken off from stars inside us.
He meant, we are made of divine ingredients —
calcium in our teeth, iron in our blood,
every atom in our bodies crafted
in the kiln of long-dead stars.
Those we’ve never met,
might never know,
in cities and towns we’ve only read the names of —
kids playing soccer barefoot in the streets of Rio,
a girl riding her bike to school in Accra,
even the boy in Orion, Alabama
gazing up at the spattered canvas of night —
all of us plaited together by stars.
On starry nights
mothers, fathers, friends we’ve lost
wink at us.
We are made of stars,
When Georgia Heard’s father left home for the Vietnam War, the then 8-year-old used poetry to express her mixed feelings about it. “Poetry gave me clarity,” says the North Palm Beach resident. “When I watched news of the war on TV, I was afraid that my father wouldn’t come home alive. It was difficult to talk about what I was feeling so I started writing instead.”
She earned a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Columbia University and subsequently published 19 poetry collections for children and adults. Her newest adult collection, A Field Guide to the Heart, will be published this summer.
Heard has given seminars, workshops, and keynotes on writing and poetry in schools and universities all over the world. She also leads online poetry writing workshops through The Poet’s Studio (visit georgiaheard.com for details) and has been a regular at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival and the Poetry-by-the-Sea event at Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa. Through these avenues, the award-winning author helps others use poetry as a tool
to endure their own hardships.
“When we don’t pay attention to our inner lives, we become empty,” says Heard. “Poetry can help us nourish that inner space even though sometimes it’s not easy to do. People are often intimidated by poetry because of the way it has been taught, but I believe everyone starts out as a poet. It’s one of our greatest tools for living.”
“Think and Think Again”
Darkness and solitude,
a long drive,
a cup of coffee,
flashes of lightning on the horizon from a passing storm.
I am thinking –“Maybe a quiet night to conclude my long waking hours.”
the long hours I have come to embrace,
A familiarity has grown out of what I used to dread.
“How odd,” I think.
“Why did I have disdain for what I did not know?”
I’d much rather Wonder.
Stuart resident and retired city planner Joe Banfi never set out to write poetry. Rather, he says, the words just came to him. “I was drawn to poetry spontaneously, without any reason or explanation,” he says of the passion he discovered more than 50 years ago. “The words came and fell on paper. It was pure freedom of expression without boundaries or rules.”
Others quickly took note of his talents. Recalls Banfi: “The best compliment I have ever received was from an English professor who said, ‘Joe, you have a unique and interesting way with words.’” Yet he has never felt inclined to publish his work. “It’s strictly a hobby meant for self-reflection and entertainment,” he says of his poetry, which covers a wide range of topics, from human nature to physical nature. “I hope my poetry evokes feelings and thoughts from the depth of the human soul.”
He does share his prose publicly at two monthly poetry events: Howl at the Moon Writers’ Jam in Stuart and Performance Poets of the Palm Beaches, typically held in Lake Worth but currently taking place online.
I found myself pressed between
The pages of your book, like a rose
A thing of beauty that you once
And I waited for your hands, your fingers
To find their way
A casual caress down my faded blade
Hardened with your abandon
Once vibrant, color drained
Between forgotten pages,
“I can’t unlove you”
So I remain.
In 2015, after spending more than 20 years working in the medical field, Port St. Lucie resident Christie Page decided it was time to turn the hobby she’d embraced since childhood into a career. Since then, the poet and author has had her work published in numerous journals and magazines and has been a regular at ArtsFest in Stuart, where she won the ArtsFest Literary Award in 2017 and 2018.
“Poetry has the ability to show that there is beauty in everything—misery, love, loss, grief, elation, and happiness,” she says of her craft, which she hones through writing workshops throughout South Florida. “It’s a secret world where writers can insert themselves into the work of another and interpret it in any way.”
Page has also learned that her current profession, much like her last, has the power to heal. “Poetry can be a powerful tool in overcoming any situation,” she says. “Writing is therapy, and it’s never too late to begin a new chapter in your story. We don’t have to carry the itinerary of our past into the future. We can move forward, unburdened, into our destiny if we are just willing to be vulnerable enough.”
4 ways to explore the art of poetry
Share your stories, poetry, or music at the open mic every third Thursday. 901 Hub, 901 SE Johnson Ave., Stuart
A night of poetry and live music takes place the first Friday of every month. 3224 S. U.S. Hwy. 1, Fort Pierce
The Palm Beach County Library System will host a digital discussion with poet and novelist Safia Elhillo, April 20 at 6:30 p.m. Registration required
Virtual open mic sessions every month (dates posted on Facebook).