Friday, September 9, 2016

Paralympic Poems


Am I excited about the Paralympic Games? I cried watching the Brazilian Paralympic team come into the stadium for the Opening Ceremonies. (That was the only part of the opening ceremonies that I saw...I probably would have cried for all of it.)

In the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, poetry was inscribed on a wall in the Athletes Village to inspire them. A Tennyson favorite was chosen:

That which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Another one that was suggested that I particularly liked was this bit by Longfellow:

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.

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I'm sharing poems today by Priscila Uppal of Canada, written for the London 2012 Paralympics.

Rules of the Republic of Paralympic
by Priscila Uppal

At customs, officials welcome passports by cheers.

Everyone you encounter is immediately identified numerically
according to level of ability.

Roads are sectioned into individual lanes.

Paperwork is filed by relay.

Pain: an unlimited resource used for fuel.

read the rest here

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Afterwards
by Priscila Uppal

After the canoes and kayaks have been lifted out
of the water, the painted lines on fields and courts erased,
the nets lowered, the bicycles sent for tune-ups, the scoreboards
reprogrammed, the trunks and singlets tossed in the wash,
sneakers unlaced, pools drained, gloves hung, mats soaked
in vinegar, the show jumps dismantled, ticket stubs
recycled, the starting blocks stored, hurdles stacked,
concession stands closed down.

read the rest here

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A post about the Paralympics from July

The Poem Farm has the Poetry Friday round-up. Thanks, Amy!

12 comments:

jama said...

Didn't realize there were poems written about the paralympics! Especially enjoyed "Afterwards" -- very inspiring. And I like that Tennyson one you shared too. :)

Linda B said...

I didn't know about these either, Tabatha. "After applying

lemon juice and tears, an image of your future self appears." Just wonderful! Thanks for all. I have a niece with CP, works so hard in her life every day to be better at something.

Jane @ Raincity Librarian said...

Beautiful - thank you for sharing this. That quote from Longfellow is a wonderful reminder that for most of us success doesn't come over night, it comes only through hard work and patience. A good reminder in a busy, impatient world!

Tara Smith said...

Thanks for sharing these, Tabatha - a window into another perspective and experience which we would all be better off paying attention to.

Kiesha Shepard said...

"That which we are, we are" Love the simplicity and honesty of this line. Thanks for sharing these, Tabatha!

Mary Lee said...

What an inspiration!

Ruth said...

"Toiling upward in the night" indeed! Thank you for sharing these!

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

How very timely and so very beautiful. By the way, dear Tabatha, I just had a chance to use the poems that you sent to me soo long ago - I had a poetry bazaar in my class the other evening, and brought so many more poems besides the one you sent me - my students had a wonderful time.

Brenda Harsham said...

Those are great poems about very moving events. I love the end of that last one, "unknown journeys but known eventual destination/ diligently training." I can relate. You never know where your journey will pass though, but you always keep your goal in mind.

Doraine Bennett said...

Beautiful, Tabatha. I love seeing your passion for these events.

Mitchell Linda said...

Such a layered and meaningful post. Thank you. I didn't realize there were poems for these games. It makes sense but I had never seen any before. I am a richer person for stopping by and reading your thoughts and these words. Have a great week.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

This is such an inspiring post. I love that these games are celebrated with poetry. Thank you for sharing with us all. "One ought never be caught being a couch potato." Amen to that! xx