In the book, Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, a grandma and her grandson, CJ, are on an outing, and CJ has a lot of questions: How come they have to wait for the bus in the rain? How come they have to wait for a bus at all? Why don’t they have a car? She tells him that trees get thirsty. (“Don’t you see that big one drinking through a straw?” she asks. He doesn’t. Yet.) She tells him there’s no need for a car when they have a bus that breathes fire.
The slim tale goes on like this for a few vibrant pages as CJ names something about the world and his grandmother names something more, thus widening his perspective and helping him see the truth in a deeper, more creative way.
When they arrive at the last stop on Market Street and head towards a soup kitchen where they will serve a meal, CJ notices so much brokenness — sidewalk doors, windows, and stores.
“How come it’s always so dirty over here?” CJ asks his grandma. She tells him, “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.”
She points to a rainbow in the sky arching over the apartment buildings, and CJ wonders how she can find beautiful in the broken world, but they walk a bit more, and soon he sees familiar faces from his weekly visits to the soup kitchen.
And seeing them, he smiles and begins to understand.
This week take a walk and notice your surroundings, as CJ did. Ask questions about what you see, and respond in the manner of CJs grandmother. Try to write a poem that is a witness to beauty in a broken world.
Thanks to everyone who participated in last month’s poetry prompt. Here’s one from Rick that we enjoyed:
the gray horses
of my longing.
with dampened wings,
a dream of gold,
beneath the cold
and heavy snow.
Bloom bright for me,
for my wish was true
and silent, and
I believe in you.
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