Poetry….. Past Words

The objective. 

The objective is to move the stone from the right hand to the left hand.

The objective is to take the stone from the person on the right…hold it in the palm…(the heart of your hands)…take a full deep breath…move the stone to your left hand…and pass it to the person on the left.

This is simple.

Take with right hand, hold in both, breath, give with left hand.

Take.

Hold

Breath.

Give.

Simple.

Candice is 43 years old.  She lives in a small contorted body, moves in a wheelchair, and has some control of her hands.  Enough to feed herself, use her phone, move her wheelchair….not enough to dress herself, toilet herself or take things out of her purse.

Kieran is 21 years old. He has adrenoleukodystrophy….a long word for a form of ‘locked in body syndrome.’  His body is arched and stretched.  He cannot move his chair, dress himself or feed himself.

We start every theatre class with ‘the stone.’

It gives everyone recognition….a place…stillness and acceptance.

Candice and Kieran happened to be beside each other… in the circle that day.

Candice held the stone in her right hand, had moved it slowly and carefully to her left hand.

She turned her head and looked for Kieran’s hand

…to give him the stone.

His chair was too far away.

I silently pushed him closer.

One student reached to help.

I glanced…signaling “No.”

I looked at everyone in the circle.

They knew what to do.

They all took a breath.

We will wait.

We did.

Kieran’s hand reached, his fingers curled

…missing the stone.

Candice tried to turn her chair more.

She held the stone as still as she could.

Kieran flung out his left arm, as if telling it to go away

…as if he wanted his right arm to have all the space  it needed

…all the time it needed

…all the precision it needed

…to reach

…to take the stone.

We waited.

We waited

…and breathed.

We were all still.

The only thing moving in the room was Kierans right arm.

…and his wild eyes.

The focus

….the sharpness

….the intent

….that objective

…that stone

…burned.

We waited.

Our breath hoped.

We all balanced on this hope.

A tender

….delicate

….fleshy

….teetering hope.

Maybe?

We waited.

Time

…time

…time

…passed.

Kieran’s right arm swayed

…his fingers curled

…opened

…closed

…opened…

…………

………………….

…………………………

He took it!

We let go.

My eyes tear.

God dammit.

Why does this touch me so?

Larry looks at me.

“Are you alright?” he asks.

“That was poetry.” I answer “Poetry.”

I don’t want to swing into an emotional issue.  We need to focus on the work.  We carry on.

But

…that moment

…keeps coming back.

It won’t leave

…and I have to write about it

…in this thought

…that

Poetry lives not only in the lilt of words.

Poetry is transcribed in the crystal perfection of a focused movement.

The concentrated connection of brain, to arm, to hand, to fingers.

We heard poetry that day

…spoken with purity

                …in a contorted landscape

                                …where the precise laser light of concentration

                                                …burned a direct line to the most desired objective.

                                                                …a stone.

It was riveting.

That moment

….that movement

                ….that intent current

                                …needed to maneuver the maze

                                                …to communicate

                                                                …to connect

                                                                                …reaching for

                                                                                                ….and then taking from.

Was poetry.

Poetry.

Poetry

….past words.

Story as told by Artistic Director of Theatre Terrific, Susanna Uchatius.

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