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Apr 2019 - Year 21 - Issue 2

ISSN 1755-9715

Linking Worlds

Magdalena Brzezińska is a graduate of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland. She is a sworn translator, an international conference speaker, an EFL teacher with over 25 years of experience and a teacher trainer with over 12 years of experience. Previously, she was an assistant lecturer at the University of Warmia and Masuria, Poland. At present, she teaches General and Business English to students of the WSB University in Poznan, where she was awarded third place in the Best English Instructor category in the year 2018. She is Membership Officer for the international Visual Arts Circle and a member of the Virtual Round Table/ vLanguage web conference. Magdalena took part in the Erasmus+ CountMeIn2 project for people with disabilities and learning difficulties, which she discusses in her recent article published in the e-Mentor Magazine of the Warsaw School of Economics (http://www.e-mentor.edu.pl/artykul/index/numer/74/id/1348 ). Magdalena is also an active advocate of peacebuilding through creating bonds between people of various nationalities, cultures and religions. For several years she has organized literary and artistic projects (to be viewed at https://issuu.com/magdabr ) with this aim in mind. Email: magdalena.a.brzezinska@gmail.com

 

Background

When you were a kid, were you convinced that your teachers belong to a weird species that lives at school, their first name is Miss and their favorite hobby is grading tests? You were, were you? So was I, years before I became an ELT professional. It was so shocking to see those people in the street, walking hand in hand with their husband (their husband?!?), or cycling in the forest. Do these people actually have a life outside of school? Can they enjoy anything other than being a teacher?

Although I have always loved my profession and called it a vocation, my passions have been an equally important part of my life, even if my poems or art always ended up in the drawer. Apart from an occasional Facebook post, I may have been too shy to actually publish them for the world to see. I was waiting for some vague miraculous occurrence, a breakthrough that would change the state of affairs. And it did happen. It happened when I thought outside the box.

Perhaps you know the quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi and mocked as “bumper sticker wisdom” by Brian Morton of the New York Times: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Perhaps it is grandiloquent and exaggerated. But it works. At least for me it did. One day I woke up and thought to myself: “What am I waiting for? And why am I waiting? Why not assume there are other people like me out there who want to share their world with others and be seen and heard?”

It was then that I cautiously organized the first literary project and advertised it among my friends. I set a theme, back then inspired by the motto of Museo de la Palabra: “the word is the link between people, and the language is the structure that unites us and singles us out as human beings”, and also by the mail art project We Share the Ancient Skies of my friend Cynthia Willett, an artist based in New York City. It turned out some of my friends had been waiting for such an initiative. Initially, I was joined by ten sensitive, creative individuals. Since then, the project has grown exponentially: altogether, it has gathered over 40 participants from all the inhabited continents of the world, mostly ELT professionals, who prove that art is a lingua franca for all the races, cultures, nations and religions. The general title, “Linking Worlds”, was given to our projects by one of the participants, artist and ELT professional Agneta M Lindh.

Some of our themes were: changes, remembering and forgetting, untold stories, or music. Incidentally, the topics make each booklet a great resource for the ESL/EFL classroom. Apart from poetry, we publish stories, art and photographs. And I dare say each project is getting better and more intense and produces even more inspiring results. Check it out for yourself at https://issuu.com/magdabr . You will recognize the volumes by a uniform graphic design.

And now let me say no more. Just dive into the profound sensitivity, but also humor, and wonderful creativity of the weird species: teachers.

 

The beat goes on?

 

We’re living in a world where everything’s faster

Emojis, memes, acronyms so hard to master

There’s not enough effort, there’s not enough time

Good thing we still have the time to rhyme

 

Videos are shorter, here comes a boomerang

I’ll answer your message with a video of mine

No one writes, no one converses

Good thing that songs still have verses

 

We don’t use our words and just send a like

Our discourse skills have taken a hike

We search for a gif, they never will bore us

Good thing that music still has a chorus

 

Where did the days go when we heard full CDs?

We listened to vinyl both side A and side Bs

We are moving through life in bits and pieces

Good thing that the music never ceases

 

Turn off your iTunes, Spotify and do something drastic

Take time from your day and experience a classic

Connect with the music, feel all the emotion

Bring back days filled with harmonic motion

 

Learn to connect, to dance and sing

It’s as old as time, it ain’t no new thing

Heal your soul, it’s very therapeutic

Good thing we still have this thing called music

 

Rob Howard, Poland/USA

 

 

Memories

 

Many memories just

          drift away.

Some don't.

These subtly shift over time

          deepening in color and flavor.

These are the memories that inform me as I grow ever older.

What I did badly, unthinkingly;

What I survived;

What was good at the start but crumbled over time;

And what has endured as a central way of being.

Shame fades into knowledge and forgiveness.

Pridefulness ebbs with perspective.

Some submerges to become hidden strength.

Not so much letting go as finally beginning

          to see.

Flashes of color and the sepia tinge of old photographs, old memories

 

Deborah Healey, PhD, USA

President-Elect of TESOL International

 

 

A Waltz and a wish

 

One, two, three and four.

Waltzes tap your memory's door.

All the noises of today

Fail to sweep the hopes of May;

Fail to stop the flow o' steps,

Or the smiles on your lips,

Though it all is but a dream;

And the gleam is just a gleam.

Waltzes are, and'll always be

Realised ethereally

Just like thoughts of Eden are

And the tunes from afar.

One, two, three and four.

Waltz and hope for evermore.

 

Samar Tulba, Egypt

 

 

The Sensations of Every Step

 

Not the one I accepted

Not the one I declined

Not the one I pined for

longed for heart aching

Not the one I took

in need to replace.

 

Not the one you offered

Not the one everybody saw

feet fluttering never

touching ground

but the one I cannot grasp

dancing with the moments

movements

 

[no] not to be grasped grabbed

just to be waltzed

in the kitchen

over the living room floor

to your own rhythm

- my rhythm

 

Not the one I accepted

[seemingly]

Not the one I declined [rightfully]

pined for took or was offered

[misguided] [proud] [lukewarm]

Not at an even pace

[counting]
Da Capo Da Capo
[getting nowhere]

 

But the one I waltz whirl

[instinctively] [passionately]

dancing with the moments

movements

every turn every beat

until I feel

the sensations of every step

until I feel

LIFE

 

Agneta M Lindh, Sweden

 

 

Keenly they know,

how things go.

Carpenters, plumbers,

construction workers,

constantly building,

reconstructing,

illusions of permanence.

Nothing but change.

 

Anthony Kolasny, USA

 

 

 

Cosmos Y

 

They dreamt as they looked way up high

At the beauty that is our sky

Then wondered how they could fly?

 

Then thunk their thoughts with might

To solve the conundrum of flight

And so they who, invented the kite,

 

Designed, inspired by insect and bird

Further they went I have heard

As vision for them was ne'er blurred

 

Alas the kite is held by string,

The cleverest men from Peking

Wondered how to be the cosmic king

 

And so they wandered in in the bazaar

To find something that could gaze afar

Thus bringing closer that distant star

 

Now many have looked from east and west

Answering questions that have been addressed

Kindly giving their knowledge on request

 

To share the wisdom of mankind

Carving knowledge of stars, aligned

Always sharing everything they find

 

So this I think is why we ask the question, why?

Because we dream the dream of how to fly

When we look into the beautiful night sky

 

Paul Brannan, Great Britain/ Poland

 

The upside down

 

The fall is breading the spring,

Flowers are bloomed by the fallen leaves,

Make up the hope.

 

Winter is being waved as you await the fall.

My seeding is reaping in your garden

Color up the surprise.

 

The migrate birds are awake,

fare forth across the Pacific Ocean,

My greeting is on the way to you,

Mark down the miss.

 

Missing is like an invisible hand,

Leading the drifters through the darkness.

 

Come home,

Kids,

When the morning sunlight is dazzling,

Come home.

 

Xuan Zhang, China/Australia

 

 

Echoes of the Past

 

Morning spring breeze

Slithers through the open window

A smell of grass freshly mowed

Like Aladin’s carpet

She is now eleven years old.

The window now has wooden shutters

Reminders of safer times

When she could open her casements wide

And greet a passerby.

Same soul inside a body

Trapped, same as now

And yet…

That body stubbornly grows

Grows to an awkwardness

Useless efforts

To stop it

Conceal it

And Yet…

No signs of decay

That body is the same

Or so they say

For her…

No trace is left behind

That body stubbornly shrinks

Echoes of the past

Is she both

Or…

Is she none?

 

María Laura Scasso, Argentina

 

 

Dear ‘Sige’*

 

Can I talk to you, silence?

Better than talking to another

 

Dear ‘sige’, I remain within your enclosure and in it I feel safe

No pain when in you

 

Floating in you I feel  free

Your gentle whisper against all cacophony

 

Silence, you are a noise

My noise,  beneath words

 

Behind words you are

I am the hollow place inside which you reverberate

 

Your deafening sound releases me.

 

In your arms, ‘sige’,

In your arms, until we are one

 

                          Vicky Papageorgiou, Greece

 

*’Sige’ means silence in ancient and modern Greek

 

 

What my husband means to me

 

To me, my husband means a wall.

A wall can shelter me from many things –

From the wind, the sun, the rain...

It can also provide me with privacy –

Which I need so that I can be the me who

Nobody else is allowed to see.

Sometimes, this wall is high – very high...

And at times, this wall is only but a fence

On which I can lean on, to enjoy life as

It passes by.

On the wall, there’s a great surface area

On which I can hang up those memories which I

So treasure and love.

Sometimes, the wall seems to be a barrier –

It seems to shut me out of somewhere,

Where I long to be.

But now, with God’s help and patience and perseverance,

I have discovered that it contains doors and windows

Through which I can enter and look.

What a relief!

The wall offers me the boundaries which I need

To see so that I have a direction in my life,

So that I know how far I can go and where it’s safer

And best to stay.

I’ve learnt that I need this wall to have my family living

Securely –as it is a fundamental part that structures

A house that houses a family.

A wall is made of strong material which can be hard but

Yet can provide the right material for a fine piece of art.

The wall can be of many colours – but

As long as there is sunshine on this wall,

Then it won’t be cold and damp and dark but

Bright and warm and comfortable to lean against.

A wall that is well built will last forever.

 

Carmen Camilleri, Malta

 

 

Queen of my heart

 

Mother, mother

My heart is always calling you

My life would be nothing without you

You know I faced hard moments

It's true

But in the darkness your love was the light to guide me through

 

Mama, mama

You're the queen of my heart

Your love is the beginning and the start

Your love is the beauty, is an art

 

Oh Lord!

I am thankful for each day

Her love was by my side, and I pray

To see my children growing with her and say

Mama, grandma

You're the Queen

Come what may…

 

Habiba Chouchen, Tunisia

 

 

I hear her call me

In my frozen silent dreams of snow.

Her voice comforts

Though the words

Are in a language I do not know.

 

Birch branches wave

In the mercurial moonlight above me.

I wander forward

Looking back

Hoping it would be her I see.

 

Who is she?

She is my mother’s great-great-grandmother.

She is belonging,

Home and family.

She is the sound of my no longer being “other.”

 

Her hands hold traditions

I long to know and make alive.

But they are hidden

Masked by change

And the selfish ignorance of time.

 

Snow falls and I awake

To find I am home with my own family.

Perhaps she knew,

Perhaps she hoped,

That finding my way was always only up to me.

 

Elyse Black, USA

 

 

Haiku

 

A pair of swallows

Hurtling up and down

Arrival of spring

 

Mineko Tsukamasa, Japan

 

 

with a thud of a broken trunk

the nut leaf

is falling

 

Agnieszka Jankiewicz, Poland

 

 

Rain…

Chorus:

I hate the rain

It resembles your tears

It starts again

And reveals all my fears

I hate the rain

This reminds me of pain.

My poor brain

Can’t forget your name!

 

  1. It happened several years ago

When I let all my feelings go

So we could have a lot of fun

And thought we’ll need each other as flower and sun.

 

  1. But summer finished very fast

Then autumn came I learnt at last

You wanted to play your double-life

So I refused and said “Good-bye!

 

  1. The fall has started soon again

And I can see this gloomy rain

But I’ve got memories of past

I wonder how long it’s going to last.

 

                          Arevhat Simonyants, Uzbekistan

 

 

The Musician

 

Sounds came at all times,

Waltzes, cumbias, tangos.

Sounds from the world

Which kept the neighbours awake.

 

A rough carpet was intended

To muffle the high-pitched tones.

However, the melodies

Could reach faraway spots.

 

The mystery of the musician

Was never resolved

Until the maid confessed

No man lived in that home.

 

How can that be?

Who plays like that?

I don’t know, people.

Unless…it’s the cat.

 

Sole Afra Martínez, Argentina

 

 

« Remember or Forget !»

 

Princess in a nice pink organdy dress

Assorted socks and patent leather shoes

Prince in elegant black trousers and white shirt

Head high up with or without a tiara, a crown

Pride your parents feel strutting around

To arrange every single detail behind

Your mischievous little eyes

Ready to fail to comply with the parents’ rules

Forgotten seems to be the chorus

You’re at times the one that dazzles your beloved’s eyes

At times the cloud that hides another memory

When following instructions seems too complicated

For the impish youngster that‘s tight to you .

Forgotten doesn’t apply to the eyes of love that watch you

You’re the rain that keeps their pastures green

And their forest alive and erases their hard moments

Who minds your untied plaits

Who minds your wrongly tied laces

Every moment, event, encounter is a picture

Store them in the mind, an unforgettable open drawer

Words have their use, stick them up to abuse

Paint, draw and keep their sense in motion

The growing-up genius in action

On the path to a foreseeable future

Caring for the distant vision of the next generation 

Be ready to amass age’s wisdom

To distribute endless rules to your own heirs

 

Patricia Emilien, New Caledonia

 

 

Two Sociable Loners

 

Second year at the Uni

You

Overworked

Disappointed

Remote

Hiding away in a lobby corner

He

Accepting

Sympathetic

Buoyant

His smile shoots you from behind a purple rose

 

Winter vacation in the mountains

You

Forsaken

Lacking

Sore

Huddled on a bunk bed late at night

He

The Entertainer

The Wizard of Sound

The Hypnotizer

Embracing his guitar in the crowd

 

Last year at the Uni

You

Crawling back home

Doomed by what was meant to be

Aware of the disaster

He

Upright

Spreading canvas

Ready

To glide away and devour his oyster

 

 

Twenty years later

You

Overworked

Disappointed

Remote

Cooking dinner for your family of five

He

Accepting

Sympathetic

Twice divorced

His count of Facebook friends: 2,500+

 

Magdalena Brzezińska, Poland

 

 

Please check the Creative Writing with Mario Rinvolucri course at Pilgrims website.

Please check the Creative Methodology for the Classroom course at Pilgrims website.

Tagged Poems