#TheWrite2Heal on August 9, 2019 – Unity Days Poetry Event 

On August 9, 2019, writers gathered at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library to write  poems and short prose pieces to commemorate the evens of August 12, 2017. This was a collaboration with the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. We are so grateful for their space and assistance. 

On the wings of unity…

WriterHouse Board member Patsy Asuncion led a lively writing workshop. She taught participants about several types of poems, including the Haiku and the Tonka. Patsy explained that the Haiku form, a five-syllable line, followed by a seven-syllable line, and ending with another five-syllable line, was originally only allowed to be practiced by men. The Tonka form, which adds two more lines to the traditional Haiku, came about because women wanted to have their own form. Our writing group practiced these forms, as well as several other types of writing, including the Six-Word Story, where individuals can only use six words to tell a story. Once the poems and stories were finished, participants transferred their words onto paper cut-outs shaped like feathers, which were then glued on to the huge cardinal sculpture created by Jum. The cardinal was chosen because it is the state bird of Virginia; the theme of the workshop was “on the wings of unity.” Below are some of the beautiful thoughts expressed by the participants.

Actions of today,
History of tomorrow.
-Yen-Yu Lin.

Riot of dissension,
awakening cohesion, unity timid.

Unity creates
A loving community
Where all are welcome
With open arms.

Connect all people
All the colors of life
Deeper sense of belonging
Immeasurable bliss
Unending peaceful
-Kelly Dowd.

With wings we fly
With love we soar
With unity we rise.
-Jum Jirapan 

Waxing quarter moon
Turn, turn again
Cloudy or clear
One drop, one
Bowl, one spoon
One earth, one heart

Like the tree, we grow together.
-Kelly Dowd

Unexpected, outstretched
Your hand meant the world to me
Erasing dark despair
Sending bullets back into guns.

Combine people, families
nation communities
Tilwana T.

Singing brought them spiritually all together.
Peace came after fighting finally stopped.

Khaki-clad supremacists
cheerfully walking with unlit
tikis down Market St. As if
going to a summer party. Later,
torchlight illuminated hate.
-Kristin M.

Dove: shed those milky
white feathers until you’re just
skin, hollow bones, scared.
Yours is not the shade
of peace, but of violence.
-Kristin M.

Beauty. We differentiate it to see it, to name it.
What we don’t see we oft disavow
But Beauty is a between thing.
While compassion is its comely wrap of skin.

A Small Island Without a Name

Islanders ran and cried
-in rubber bullets and tear gas.
Thank you, umbrellas in the rain.
Name given by colonizers
but meaning given by ourselves
(-For HK Friends) Yen-Yu Lin

Unity achieving the impossible
dream through the strength of curiosity
diversity, inclusion, togetherness,
Laughter and trust.
We fly high.
-Kelly Dowd

I’ve heard that “hope is a thing with feathers.”
What might Unity Be?
We celebrate Unity Days,
but do we need Unity?
Do we need any “thing with feathers?”
We need Peace, Justice, Wisdom
and lots and lots of self-reflection…
Before we even know what
we are uniting. Meanwhile, we have this!

Dream tumbling vision
Bright eternal family,
All faces in timelines

those who
have left a present and remember
celebrating their lives
and leaving a mark for future
generations to continue and more.
as well as family, friends
and laughing as though they
were here making us feel comfortable.
Tilwana T.

I have a dream…my
city will be transformed
in an utopia UNDIVIDED
-Myra A.

Interested in upcoming #TheWrite2Heal events? Send an email to programs@writerhouse.org