James is finishing his second year as part of the Mclean Homeschool Group. They do a year end pageant featuring essays, poetry, music and such. James was asked by his teacher to write a poem for the pageant that would express the feelings he wrote about in his letter to Rick Riordan, author of the Lightning Thief. That letter explains what it meant to James to find his first real friend in the homeschool group. James didn’t write just one poem, he wrote four! Mrs. Evans selected these two to be read out loud at the pageant.
James, a boy trapped inside,
Autism barring the door to freedom.
A trickle of light streams through the lock,
Blinding against the darkness.
Eyes adjust, and crave more rays of hope.
The lock becomes brittle, but still fastened.
Then the brightest illumination strikes the still dull eyes.
Eyes adjust to the increasing demands.
Still trapped, but the door ajar.
Objects outside this prison come into focus.
The chains disintegrate under the force of the sun.
The door springs open,
The lock shatters as it meets the ground.
Autism pales against the light of heaven.
Fifteen years without true peers.
Apprehensive, afraid, and forlorn.
An autistic teen with a newfound voice,
A teacher unaware but willing to try,
An interested rising senior — a beacon of hope.
These three meet and all forever change.
One year elapses without regrets.
The senior embarks for college,
New students enroll in the class,
Autism concealed within the individual.
This second year, the student once segregated,
Sits amidst his peers, engages with friends,
And understands the meaning of classmates.
I am different, just like my peers.
James, At dinner last night with the Riemans (Zack was back home with us very briefly), Deb told us about the Pageant. She told us about how folks reacted and responded to your poems at the pageant. She was moved to the verge tears again at dinner, and so was I, and again reading your poems in your blog this morning. Yes, you are learning, AND you are also teaching us, not only about autism, but also about becoming a bit more human. Even from a bit of distance, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Jim Snow (Zack’s grandfather)
Your grandson Zack helped me to take the risk of admitting James to our classes.
And kudos to Zack, respected by his MHG classmates for helping James to integrate into our classes!
James is BRILLIANT!!! And so are you!! Thanks so much for sharring. Poetry says so much in few words.
There is a book here you know.
A standing ovation to honor James! A well-deserved standing ovation.
I am honored to be a part of James’s life.
PS: Posted to my Faceboo page.