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Poetry Can Heal

On December 12th, I gave an Emerge presentation to Mrs. Nimmer’s creative writing class at Harrison High School. A majority of my talk was about (1) Sri Lanka and the social situation there, (2) stories about the individual girls, and (3) the process of jewelry making. The goal was to give the roughly 25 students context about what the girls we work with go through, so they could translate this understanding into a poem.

I photographed pieces of jewelry, and each student was asked to choose one. They were then encouraged to write a piece of poetry about any aspect of the story that I had told, using the piece of jewelry they had selected as inspiration. A sheet of “color meanings” was distributed to them by Mrs. Nimmer to facilitate this process, with the color meaning sheet highlighting both positive and negative color associations.

Below I’ve posted two of my favorite poems. These came from the group of students who agreed to let me read and use their works.



The little girl, around fourteen, Was sitting in the dark. Her cheeks were dirty and her fingers aching. She was working on her first necklace. She felt connected with it. It had the colors black, red, gold, and blue. She liked the red beads the most. They made her feel powerful. When she finished, she wore it proudly. It was almost as if he couldn’t touch her again. Tears rolled down her cheeks, Mixing in with the dirt. She walked outside of her hut. The soles of her feet in contact with The cool hard ground. She stood straight, shoulders back and chin up. Her eyes met his. Just as she thought she would drown in them, Her feet started to move. One foot in front of the other. Her necklace was radiant and glowing. Her eyes were fixed on his As she walked past him with confidence, No longer looking back.

By: Kayla Raub



Pick up a length of blue-green thread Cut it to the sixtieth inch, What colors to use – orange, red? Loop the end and cinch.

The beads are strung, one by one, Turquoise of the sea Yellow, warm as summer sun, Purple mystery.

Now to tie it all together Find a golden clasp, Bind the string of the universe And that will hold it fast.

By: Sasha Zawadsky-Weist

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