Inspired by the closing speech of the 2020 Rose Ceremony made by Senior Class Co-Advisor, Deirdre Somers, Jadyn Mardy penned a poignant and honest poem about her experience as a student and teenager during a global pandemic. “Shoulder to Shoulder” touches on her isolation and desire to push and test the boundaries of social distancing, to feel once again close to those she loves but who are not in her immediate family. Her poetry, a glimpse into the teenage experience of simply existing in these times, reminds us of this generation’s resilience, adaptability, and hopefulness.
Jadyn explained what specifically about Ms. Somers’ speech sparked her inspiration for her poem, “I was expecting a wish involving building character, or the hope and strength to change the world. However, her one wish for the senior class was for us to have the end-of-year Rose Ceremony in the gymnasium surrounded by the whole school. She wanted us to stand shoulder to shoulder. This seemed like such a small thing to ask, however under present circumstances, it seemed far from possible.”
Inspired by her favorite poet from my childhood, Dr. Seuss, and later, Emily Dickenson, Jadyn began writing poetry in 7th grade and officially took on the title of ‘poet’ in 10th grade. Most recently, she has been enjoying the work of Sarah Kay, specifically her poem “If I Should Have A Daughter.”
When asked how she feels about beginning her Senior year in such uncertain times, Jadyn said she feels nostalgic and mystified about this school year. “I miss being in a classroom, physically close to people, and walking down the hall between classes. However, I am mystified about what the future may hold and that our community, faculty, and students alike are still so strong and serving as an inspiration during these trying times.”
Jadyn has published her poetry on the Young Writers Project website for over a year now and received a wonderful comment on this poem from a fellow writer. “[They] talked about enfolding nostalgia with the present situation. It’s so amazing to know people take the time to leave their thoughts on my work.”
SHOULDER TO SHOULDER
I saw you today,
No, farther back, six feet away.
You looked nice.
Your flowing dress, your blue suit.
I waved hello.
Wide, slowly, so you could see it from your distance.
You need glasses. You keep squinting.
And we had a conversation.
You and me.
Speaking. In three dimensional space.
I saw the shadows on your face,
the curves of your cheeks,
your voice not cutting in and out from the internet,
only the wind carrying away the last bit.
What was the last part?
And we laughed, you and I,
in this three dimensional space,
the one I forgot existed for a while,
at whatever struck us funny at that moment.
You got taller.
You got shorter.
…Glad to see you nimrod.
Glad to see you too, bean pole.
It’s not like I could create this moment with a screen,
this wonderful speck of time
in pictures and pixels.
I’ve tried and failed. It’s not the same.
This space is something better, a bit.
But closer apart. Together.
I’d love for you to be closer though.
Shall we go four feet apart?
Not yet. You said. We have a ways to go.
But right now my wish is for this moment,
in this three dimensional space,
with your glowing unpixilated face,
six feet away from my heart,
a measurement I sadly estimate well. Happy it’s not nine.
The ultimate vision?
To stand shoulder
To read more of Jadyn’s poetry, visit: https://youngwritersproject.org/node/36400