QOTD – Do You Hear The People Sing?


I composed this tweet while driving1 to my step-father-in-law’s2 retirement from the Missouri Air National Guard.

        2. I usually refer to him as Bill to avoid all the hyphenation
1. I was actually passangering, not driving.  Safety first.

Chris really enjoyed the #LifeAsPoetry tagline and we decided to run with it for a while, which got me thinking.  A dangerous pastime, I know*.

*Pardon my Disney reference, but no one is quite like Gaston.

There is so much beauty in this world that gets ignored.  There is too much beauty in this world that gets ignored.

By now, I hope you have heard the story of Joshua Bell playing his violin in the Washington DC Metro stop.  If you haven’t, you need to internet** more.  You can read the full article here, or you can just understand that a world renowned violinist displayed his skills in a subway station and was widely ignored by the masses too busy with the glorification of busy to stop and listen to the roses.

**Yes, “to internet” is a verb – it is usually done on the Google machine or the Facebook, occasionally the Tweeter.

I recently attended an amazing professional development workshop on engaging students of poverty lead by Eric Jensen where he told an amazing story that you won’t find on the internet.  This story takes place on a school bus.  It was, as school busses are wont to be, a loud, noisy school bus full of talking, screaming, singing children.  The bus driver fought daily for the students to sit down, quiet down, shut up…

until he missed a day and there was a substitute bus driver.

Adding to the overwhelming cacophony of noise was a ten year old named Darrel.  Darrel was singing.  Darrel was always singing.

As Darrel approached the doors to get off the bus, the substitute bus driver did something beautiful.  Instead of telling Darrel to shut up, he told Darrel you have an amazing voice and gave him a phone number of a relative who was involved in music.

Darrel, whose full name is Darrel Labrado, released three albums, had two Billboard Top 100 hits and has performed on MTV and in New York for Billboard.

Because someone took the time to listen to his voice instead of telling him to shut up.

Because someone took the time to hear the music over the din.

How much beauty, how much poetry gets lost in our world because we forget to look, to listen, to see?

Art does not imitate life.  Life is art.

Artists merely capture the moments.


QOTD – Where do you find beauty, art, or poetry in the world around you?  What is your #LifeAsPoetry moment?

Respond here, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “QOTD – Do You Hear The People Sing?

  1. I am a teacher. I teach students. Sometimes I teach an actual subject and I once taught writing. I had a 16 year old student. She wrote simplistically, about simple things. I enjoyed her writings but never really appreciated them. They lacked depth. Then she missed several days of school. Several weeks after she returned she wrote the following. And I paraphrase…

    “Some people laugh when I tell them I had a hysterectomy. I guess they think it’s funny that I’ll never have kids.”

    I had to read that three or four times to make sure I’d actually read it correctly. Then I noticed her noticing me. Watching me read what she knew she’d just written. As I caught her eye she began to cry silently. It was one of the most powerful moments of my life.

    I taught me this; Poetry isn’t always complicated or complex. It doesn’t fit the confines. It isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it’s brutal. Sometimes it hits like a sledge hammer and not in the profound, awakening and enlightening way. More like a kick to the gut when you were waiting for a simple peck on the cheek. I had this student I had come to expect so little from. She wrote about her cats and her family and wasn’t deep or complex. And she changed my life and my out look on the power of poetry in 22 simple words. Poetry is life as it happens. And it isn’t always something beautiful. Or at least not beautiful as we define it. That girl went on to graduate, find a career, and find her place in the world. We still keep in touch. And she’s still the most powerful poet I’ve ever known.

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