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Pattering footsteps across sea grains

Wander carelessly with no aims.

A makeshift castle emerges from the sand,

Sculpted by miniature hands,

Which come upon a wondrous treasure

That bring them happiness and such great pleasure.

A tiny crab that horizontally crawls

Out from the sand tower’s tumbling walls.

The maker’s hands scoop up the creature,

Admiring its shiny shell and all its features.

“I declare you king of the castle,”

Says the boy who crowns it with a tiny tassel.

“We shall play all day and play all night

Nothing bad will happen. We’ll be all right.”

And played they did, the crab a ruler.

Its reign was more precious than the gems of a jeweler,

A reign as strong as a queen or king,

And the boy did sing

It songs of the sea,

Songs that he sang ever so gracefully.

Finally a time came when the boy turned his back

On the crab, who crawled away from the sand shack

That the boy deemed a worthy chateau,

But of the crab’s whereabouts, he did not know.

When he went looking for it along the shore,

All he could find was a shell with no core.

With tears in his eyes and trembling fingers,

Over the tiny makeshift grave did he linger.

His mother called and took him away,

And for a long while did the boy look at that day

As a time of joy he would always remember,

Keeping the memory like a dying ember,

Yet life went on and all he could do

Was remember the crab in his heart in truth

~Jillian Speck’17

Over 50 of the response to The Starboard Sea were in the form of a poem.  While all the poems were beautiful to read, Esther Lee, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing, selected six poems that really stood out:

–          Jillian Speck’s “A Day at the Beach”

–          Kelsey Morgan “Aidan’s Immersion”

–          Brooke Mastmeier “Comforting Depths”

–          Amy Wang, “Portrait of the Soul within the Sea”

–          Charlee Amason, Untitled

–          Roseanne O. Weaver, “Hair is Destiny”

These will be posted over the next few days, so keep your eye on Agnes Reads!

Student Showcase

Agnes Reads Student Showcase
Friday, Sept. 6, 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Alston Campus Center, The Hub

Over the summer all new students and many faculty, staff and alumnae read The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont. This Friday, our Alston Campus Center will be transformed into a gallery displaying students’ artistic responses to the novel. A panel of our upper class students, moderated by professor Nicole Stamant, will also discuss the process through which they create art, music, theatre and literary works. Please join us for this campus wide event! Refreshments will be served.

Your name popped up in a book I was reading;
I smiled to myself a few times before
I decided I missed you

I did it; I ignored the caveat
and allowed myself the small fortune
of reminiscence

Your pretty brown eyes,
and that one dimple that I loved.
Dangerous makeup of an unforgettably, damning face.

Your name meant fire, and
you lived up to its meaning,
burning me with one touch and leaving me as ashes on your way out.

Stupidly, I’m scrolling through one history
that will never repeat
A great opportunity cost
left unspent;
A girl who loved to read
left drowned.

~Cassia Preston ’17

If I must describe my feelings

When I read this book, I always felt that the narrator was whispering, or say, murmuring. Sometimes with irony, sometimes with sadness, with nostalgia. The voice is low. It seemed I could smell the salt of sea wind, touch the wet air and see the landscape of the campus. But the view is obscure.

Those words made me think I was a bystander, instead of someone who could participate in the story. It’s like seeing an old movie of black and white in a spacious room alone. The voice of the actors comes from another world.

I feel sad but not enough to shed tears.

The story has ups and downs, but as the waves in the middle of the sea, it has become tender touches when coming to the shore. And the emotion is lasting.

I’ve learned something

People’s attitudes are hard to change. Without stimulation, they won’t grow up. And this stimulation is always followed by loss and pain. We all know growing needs to be paid.

Jason learned to love, but Cal left him forever, leaving him all those memories and guilt. “They were young together, and they’d always be young to each other no matter how fat, bald, and blow-hearted that became to the rest of the world.” It seemed normal that love appeared between them. But they were too young. They were so young that they’d be blind and awkward to move closer. So they hurt each other. Painful, Cal chose to commit suicide. And Jason chose to bear the wounds Cal gave him and went on.

Then he met Aiden, a beautiful and eccentric girl. They silently accompanied each other, shared their stories with each other, tried to cure the wounds of each other. Aiden taught him to love and forgive himself.

The seawater devoured Aidan’s body. She disappeared in front of Jason, just like she disappeared from the picture she should be in. But Jason would remember her, for she had taught him so many things and gave so much warmth.

Cal and Aidan both came and went in Jason’s life. He was still alone. But he had learned how to love and to forgive and to care. Everyone will grow up; maybe he just paid more for it.

Jason said he no longer believed in second chances. Actually, he should believe in it though his two chances both failed. People need to go on, so the world will give them chances, again and again. Jason too. Maybe someday he would meet another person who deserves his love, is willing to sail with him, and loves to hear his stories with Cal and Aidan.

That’s another thing about growing up.

Know more about love.

Love is a strange power, one that won’t be invalid no matter how many times you get hurt. Jason did not realize his love with Cal. Something really bad happened. But this did not mean he no longer had the ability to love. On the contrary, he learned to love. That’s what second chances gave him.

~Pinyan Xu ’17

He taunts me with his touches
Sly little things that haunt me in my mirror
Silhouetted caresses that finger down the curves
In my muscles and the scars raised into skin
In the wind that carries the imprint of his palms like echo’s last wish
And know me as well as I know it, as well as I know his body as well as my own
Us twisting and gasping for that immediate intimacy that leaves us
As one whole together and not two separated aparts
He wears my face like I should, and every day I see just a little more
Of the him I should be

She taunts me with her voice
Not the lyrics in her throat but the neurons in her mind
Little firing sparks of electricity that leap and gasp
Across space and time and death before my eyes like golden glass
Behind my closed eyelids, when I reach for her hair, her shoulder, her sweater
Her body, molded to mine in the most perfect imperfect melody
In water so well suited for my desires but so ill fated for
That bolt of lightning, burning brightly and briefly
Enough to stop my heart in my chest
She wears my soul like I should, and every day I see just a little more
Of the her I should be

They’re there, always, in the back of my mind
Constants that lay inconsistent with reality
He’d entrusted me with the soul that lay between us
Where before I’d been an empty husk, the half without
She’d entrusted me with her dimensions of self
Because I was the real that she could safeguard her possessions in
I’d been that Pandora who’d been breathed life into and brought chaos
I’d been that Midas with a gift bearing death on his fingertips
I’d been that Odysseus who’s been cursed for a transgression
I’d failed to commit, and for my purity, my innocent unwittingness
I continue to awake day by day
To the he and she missing within my own reflection
The worst part of the night, the worst part of the night
While those I love perish in the daybreak of the sun on the horizon

~ Anastasia McCray ’17

Memories
Choose victims
Like a Lector – the rude are removed
The guilty remember

The question is not who
Is the guilty party
For none can cast the first stone
I killed a boy
They killed a girl
What makes us different?

They are responsible
They will think back
In the dark of night
With shadows chasing shadows
Blame thick like a poison
Sliding down their throats

I am responsible
But I will mourn
And I will grow
I will take comfort
I will hope

That the boy
The girl
Are
Safe
And dry
And gone
From all the pain

And I’ll remain
Steeped in their glories
In their memories
Like tea
Like bodies
Bloated with sea water

It doesn’t matter
I’ll relive my regrets
My guilt

As long as they are safe
And dry
(But never, ever gone
For I never sail with one wind
Always with three
Her, Him, and Me)

Like bodies
Bloated with sea water

It doesn’t matter
I’ll relive my regrets
My guilt
As long as they are safe
And dry
(But never, ever gone
For I never sail with one wind
Always with three
Her, Him, and Me)

~ Jessica Luegering ’17