Preparing for Service
Throughout my experiences and readings with Connections for Life I’ve learned that this service-learning project can actually give students a better perspective on those people who are disregarded in life. People who have suffered from a bad childhood do not usually end up with a pleasant life. Sometimes it is hard to understand this when us students come into contact with women who have been in prison. Connections for Life changes that disgusting feeling one may get into a more comfortable and welcoming feeling. It is amazing how in one year Connections for Life can change lives by finding jobs for women and steering them away from drugs and alcohol. The new owner of CFL, Karen Stagg, explains the program as trying “to teach them life skills and get them as equipped as they can so they can start fresh and get down a new path”(Legacy p. 29). Jeannette Grison’s story has influenced me to take notice of the problems women face after return to life outside of prison.
My high school experiences with English helped me to appreciate literature and poetry significantly more. One of my English teaches in my sophomore year of high school had us pick any song we wanted and find all of the literary devices the song had and explain them. My choice was Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne. This project helped me to understand the lyrics of sings and encouraged me to find the meaning in poems and other songs. I have always since enjoyed poetry because of all the different symbols and meanings one can find. Poems are like puzzles, they challenge us to not just read them but to understand what the poet is trying to portray.
My Papa’s Waltz, from my point of view, is about a young boy holding onto his drunken father while his father drunkenly dances around the house. This poem somewhat shows how children will always love their parents no matter how many mistakes their father or mother make. Throughout this semester I hope to answer my questions of if poetry can aid these women in understanding the meaning of life and the community that we live in. I also ask myself if poetry will open my mind and heart to these women who are striving to reach a better life.
Differences in Perspective
In the poem Once in a While a Protest, the poet is explaining the view of society places on African women and women in general. The mother is probably starving herself and cannot produce enough milk to feed her baby. The author describes the mother as merely a food source when he iterates “the mother’s sunken face (is cropped)”. I would identify myself with the people the speaker is talking about. The majority of us today have become desensitized by our culture, and have become accustomed to lifestyles that the poet speaks of. The speaker seems to be a strong-willed and caring person. He is trying to explain to us how we take life for granted.
The poem Once in a while a protest relates to our service-learning project in a way because the women we meet have come from lives of abandonment. People that have no relation to these ladies tend to take no notice of them. The poem speaks of how women are often looked at as mere objects; their breast being the object of desire. These women in our service-learning project assumingly experience a sense of loneliness and detachment. However, the program they are in definitely lifts their spirits and gives them hope. I am not fearful or concerned about working with the women, but more anxious to hear their stories and get to know them. The few that I have heard from seemed very thankful to have an opportunity at a new start in life. I am looking forward to doing my best in helping these ladies to succeed through the program.
The Human culture of this world today
Has placed us people on display
Man or Woman we strive to be
Creatures, reaching for our destiny
Some succeed some may fall
But in the end we all have flaws