Although I write a fair amount of poetry, I read even more. For the past few years poetry has been trendy, which is good and bad. The more people read it is wonderful. Those of us who write it have to begin somewhere. When I read something that to my thinking is not memorable, I take into consideration that the poet may be starting out on his or her poetic journey. Some poets have become friends, and I enjoy seeing what they create. Among poets no longer with us are the classics, however one wishes to define that, and those who are discovered.
But the real joy for me is to read something that amazes me. Sophia Smith’s poem Gilded Land is one of them. Carol Worthington-Levy is a close friend from my early teenage years. She is an award-winning artist and does the covers for my poetry books. In addition, she is a member of the prestigious Schola Cantorum in the Bay Area. Each year that group sponsors a poetry contest for youth and arranges for the winning poem to be set to music and to be performed. In this case, Eric Tuan composed the music.
My first thought when I read the poem was that I would be glad to have such a student in one of my classes. The structure, vocabulary. (undulating, gloam) and the tone are outstanding. The best part of it is that she was a high school sophomore when she wrote it.
Here’s the poem, and a little bit about the poet herself. Brava!
Wisps of wind carry the songs of our dreams
From ripened grapes that turn to wine,
To otters wrapped with wreaths of kelp
That float on shining waves supine.
Granite bluffs bejeweled with green
Watch hawks paint halos in the sky;
White-capped witnesses to our state--
Their soaring hopes will never die.
Undulating hills of gold-crested grass--
Rivers of clouds around them roam.
As the sun stipples the bay in slow descent,
Copper spires shine in the approaching gloam.
Sophia Smith, © 2019
About Sophia Smith
Winner of the Schola Cantorum, Silicon Valley 2019-2020 Poetry Contest
“I am a sophomore at Mountain View High School who works as a copy editor and photographer for my high school newspaper. In my free time, I love drinking tea, reading the classics, tutoring, volunteering at my local history museum, taking poetry classes, writing, and working for three online magazines.”