Monday, June 21, 2010

Penetrating the jungle

They say evolution has come a long way since the dawn of mankind, but under the flickering light and shadow of the classroom canopy you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise. High school is a blackboard jungle and inside its difficult-to-navigate confines, survival of the fittest reigns supreme.

As you penetrate this uncivilised terrain, brushing away the vines that scratch at your face and avoiding the pits that have been dug to trap the unwary, you must be on your guard at all times. Should you find someone of the same species to watch your back, or better still, a pack that you can become part of, you achieve some measure of safety. If you discover, however, as I did, that you are the last remnant of an almost-extinct breed then it is now you against the rest of the world. It is a thriving ecosystem you have just entered and those above you on the foodchain are always hungry for fresh blood.

In my own struggle to maintain my delicately poetic lifeforce, I adopted many jungle warfare strategies. Camouflage was particularly effective, and while it can sometimes stifle the creative spark, if approached as a grand adventure, there is a silver lining to the subterfuge. During my time undercover in the wild and unruly depths of higher learning I gleaned what knowledge I could of the human animal and its strengths and weaknesses. Putting myself at risk, I plunged headlong into the dense vegetation and sought the seeds of truth where they lay discarded after the feeding frenzies of my classmates.

National Geographic's most intrepid reporters have nothing on this poet.

What memories of the blackboard jungle are lurking in the darkest depths of your mind? What squawks and what growls still haunt you as you try to drift to sleep in the dead of a winter night?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Learning to swim

Transferring into a new high school part-way through your secondary schooling career (a career more lofty for some than for others) is perilous, above and away the usual trauma of life-relocation that usually happens in tandem with it.

Picture yourself as a goldfish that has been scooped out of the pet-store tank (which may have been manky, but was at least familiar) and placed into a temporary plastic bag - a bag through which you can view the entire world that now swings fleetingly before you. You do not know when you will leave your isolated plastic bag, and you do not know what location you are being taken to. This bag-bubble, while comfortable and full of possibility, is unnerving precisely because you do not know when it will all disappear and you will be expected to assimilate again.

Picture now, your plastic bag approaching a new aquarium full of new ornaments and a sleek host of strangers. The current inhabitants of the aquarium you are being dropped into are bigger, more confident,and much more capable of either excluding or eliminating trespassers in their patch of the ocean.

Now swim.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Day

First times, of all varieties, can be heart-palpitating rollercoaster rides of emotion where one minute you stand on the verge of a wonderland of opportunity, and the next minute you stare blinking into the light, alone and afraid, and very much aware that your legs are the only things that are standing up for you. My own first day of high school had some dizzy highs and some breathless lows, but I knew, looking forward, that these first difficult steps would set me on the road to a breadth of learning that would lend my amateur aspirations to the poetic arts the kind of gravitas that they truly needed.

It was a journey of many miles that I faced...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Genesis of a Genius

Gentle reader,

Lately I have been pondering upon my own beginnings - the genesis of my genius, the opening of my poetic flower, the dawn of my lyrical day. It has occurred to me that each misfit grows into its own strange and exotic flower in the hothouse of high school, and it would behoove me, in moving forward, to look back at this fertile and fearsome time.

In the coming months I will be devling deep into the psyche of my younger self, and shaping these findings into a presentation likely to blow your poetic socks off. If you would like to stay with me as I reach into the eye of my adolescent storm, I would be honoured to have you,

Poet Laureate Telia Nevile