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Andrew Weaver's Gold Key-Winning Poem, Spring Fleet

Andrew's poem was written in response to a lesson on Voice and Identity in Poetry that was given by faculty member Ms. Kyra Spence as part of Ms. Kristina Martinez's American Literature class. After reading the opening of Whitman's "Song of Myself," Hughes's "I, too, Sing America," and Rich's "What Kind of Times are These?," students responded to a prompt asking them to "employ Whitman's and Hughes's strategies of 'singing' and asserting identity to write a poem about your relationship to America." As Andrew wrote in his artist's statement about "Spring Fleet," his response reflects his "hope that future generations will also continue to be changemakers and fight for justice" in creating "a better future for his beloved country."

Spring Fleet
 
My adolescent yawp
rumbles deep in the old heart
of this harbour.
 
I sail my spring ship,
formed of the soil
and blood of this coast,
this shore of my brothers,
of their blood my blood.
This promised vessel,
guided by the eastern breeze.
 
I am told to lower my sails
my course is unknown, idealistic.
I can not enter the harbour,
with such a melody.
 
I am told none can change
the ancient tides
that growl like a fatal undertow,
constrain the ship’s ties,
that drive us into narrow straits,
dash our vessels against the rocks,
and drown our songs into   
the murky depths.
 
But I reach head on into
the stubborn maelstrom,
blown by the breeze
of conviction and hope
of unchained melody
of the fleet that sailed before.
Their names, pure and everlasting,
emblazoned on the bow
of my spring ship
 
On this morning, I am not alone.
I am joined by a newborn fleet
that overcomes the old storm,
singing in chorus with its virgin voice.
I am joined by my brothers
who give a new shape
to this harbour, this haven,
who change the tides
and mark new course,
so that maybe once, in all the years
since the harbour opened her gates,
all may sail through.
 
That is the beauty of this place,
that the tides can change.
With each passing fleet,
a new day, a new song.
Barren landscape,
cracked, withered, and gnarled
can be made plain.
The rough places made soft.
The air and sea made pure again
while corruption, like an oar weed
simmering in hot summer sun,
can wither and blow away
with the winds of change.
 
Spring’s song, like life-giving blood,
trickles through the ground
down to the roots
of our land,
bringing renewed energy
to the parched earth.
There, in the heart of the harbour,
my youthful yell, my dream for this place,
rings its melody for all to hear.
 
The flower of truth
spreads her petals wide this morning
and the winds blow
for a truer course.
 
-- Andrew Weaver



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