There was a call to arms and Just Poets stood tall. On Thursday night (June 1st) JP held its third annual “Senior Voices” at St. Ann’s Community in Irondequoit, NY. The residents and staff members of Chapel Oaks mixed their poetry and spirit beautifully with a full contingency of Just Poets who came out in support. One after another, resident or Just Poet, they presented fine work. When Just Poet Charly Girard read a Muriel Rukeyser poem the room of nearly 30 was pin-drop silent; some could not help but lean in to her delicate, impassioned reading.
Beautiful choices. And several offered tributes to beloved Phil Morabito who was both a Chapel Oaks resident and Just Poets member. There were many caring exchanges with the residents. Chapel Oaks resident, Bob, earned a hearty round of applause and laughter when he, like last year, treated all as he recited (yes recited) the 15 stanzas and more than 700 words of “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert Service. Bob provided an enlightened introduction to Service before delivering his animated and engaging performance.
The Chapel Oaks dining hall staff even jumped into the spirit of the evening. Staff members read some Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, and Maya Angelou (thanks team “LL” for that wonderful “Still I Rise” reading).
Chapel Oaks resident David read Shel Silverstein’s “Sick’ with such fun and great inflection he brought joy and laughter to the audience. Chapel Oaks resident Iona read a lovely classic of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Said Iona, when using her walker to get from the dining hall to the poetry event, “You know, at the University of Minnesota we would often get some noted poets to a night like this…”
Tonight was no different.