Ray (Based on a True Story)

Your name was as it sounded-
a candle in the dark,
to guide me through the tunnels
playing melodies of larks.
Rejected from fine Julliard,
you swayed as you played Bach,
when they offered you a golden seat
should you flourish with the flock.
They felt that you were talented,
but must step into place,
when they noted that your movements
were preventing you from grace.
But you, just like the piper,
would not betray your sway,
when swiftly you decided
that your dance could pave a way-
for others who weren’t perfect,
but longed to share their art.
In a class so bound to G.P.A.’s,
you unveiled the wiles of smart.

“Between the voice of reason, class
and the primal punch of pride
is a pilgrim on a winding road
that only you can guide.
And between that voice of reason, class
which will point you to what’s right,
is a pilgrim on a winding road
whose hunger is the light.
Smart can open many doors,
whereas light can soothe the soul
and smart can get you through the door
but smart is not the goal.
For what good is a ticket,
if it’s taped across a hole?
And what good is that engine
if you haven’t got the coal?”

Once terrified of failure, conventional and set,
you showed me that true courage does not need a knotted net.
For failure’s unconventional-
when it leads you to the light
and plays the songs of gutter birds to comfort in the night.
Once told we held the pencil wrong,
you assured us we were right.
Once told we wouldn’t make the cut,
you told us that we might.
And even if we didn’t,
that our futures were as bright.
Why do we pine for golden seats,
when our dance can lead the way?
To hone the voice inside us,
so we never lose that sway?

-Amy Struthers

Image by Philippe Bout

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