Poetry Night Invitation, by Way of a Poem

by | Dec 31, 2017

By Bob Houghtaling

Poetry has been a way of expressing our deepest thoughts and emotions for countless years. It can be light. It can bring a tear. It can take us to places beyond words.

While I cannot pretend to be an accomplished poet, it has been a way for me to convey messages in an alternate form. In addition, writing poems can be fun.

I thereby offer this piece as both a reminder of how wonderful poetry can be, as well as an invitation to an evening of poetry, Jan. 18 from 6:30 to 8 p.m., in the East Greenwich High School library. The program is sponsored by the EG Library Lions and is open to all.

The poem, Books, is a drug counselor’s attempt to extol the virtue of poetry and learning. Sure, I am seeking to challenge readers regarding educational priorities. We offer no greater gift to our young people than to ensure that they are given the opportunity to learn. Learning is at the core of creating capable people and an informed citizenry.  


Gather round ye people
A story must be told
The moral is of the present
Though by practice very old

For once a tiny village
Stood high upon a hill
Until the day it happened
When time started to stand still

A deeply valued mission
That countless might embark
Would fan the flames of inquiry
Brought on by Promethean spark

But frowns came to the Titans
When confronted with a choice
Board up the mighty pages
Or hear the muses’ voice

The dilemma demands a choosing
In the end it’s up to you
But, remember the clock now ticking
So listen for what to do

History stood there waiting
With poems and distant tales
For hands and minds to open
That which should prevail

The air now long silent
Where once miners eagerly searched
Excavating knowledge’s treasures
And tending wisdom’s church

Somewhere on the journey
The track has lost its train
Shiny rails are sitting pretty
But they won’t be used again

Sworn keepers of the magic
Are nowhere to be found
Since edicts tossed from mountaintops
Have turned things upside down

Adults were playing checkers
While the students practiced chess
All hoping that the chorus
Would help untangle the mess

And those lonely waiting
Praying that one might look
Collect a little dust today
Because we’ve now closed the book

Perhaps in the near future
Souls might unearth the crime
Bringing light to all the subjects
Which sought such things sublime

An educated populace is essential for our nation’s continued growth. America’s system depends on our many freedoms that come from being informed. Enjoy the poetry. Enjoy the prose. Most of all enjoy the possibilities created through education.

See you soon. 

Bob Houghtaling is East Greenwich’s drug and youth counselor.


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