In Memoriam to the Deceased Members of the Class of 1988

By Liane E. Stone, ‘88

We were a garden of blossoming, fragrant flowers

Planted in colorful clusters across the hills and valleys of Northfield Mount Hermon.

Bursting with adolescent angst and pubescent passion,

We began this journey…together.

Endless days filled with breathtaking views of picturesque mountains draped in blankets of gold, orange, red, and green hues.

Together, we took that first step toward global citizenship,

All while coming from every nook and cranny of this vastly diverse landscape called earth.

Though armed with different toolboxes gleaned from myriad upbringings, experiences, and ideas

We were open to learning about the true essence of each individual life we encountered upon these hallowed hills of Northfield Mount Hermon.

Together, we sadly dined on barely tolerable cuisine that left us running to the snack bar in search of more palatable sustenance,

Together, we cheered on fellow hogger athletes who sometimes won, and sometimes not,

But that never caused anyone to question our loyalty nor did it weaken our enthusiasm.

Together, we suffered through weekly all school meetings meant to unite and inform us,

Yet sometimes strangely felt like corralling us into sheep-like submission.

Together, we pulled all-nighters, gulping down Jolt sodas and popping No-Doze like caffeinated skittles,

Writing papers on Brothers typewriters because desktop word processors were just becoming an accessible thing during our day.

We walked the paths of Northfield and Mount Hermon, together.

Late nights lying in the cool green grass counting stars, making plans, and crafting dreams that felt so real we could touch them.

Campus-wide snowball fights, races for school-baked pies, and “dressing up” to attend formal occasions, the NMH-way.

Together we gathered in prayer as we readied ourselves to walk across that makeshift stage built on the football field,

While swallowing the melancholy tears of goodbye to this journey, and hello to the next.

We lived so much, laughed so much, fussed so much, planned so much, and played so much together that we never imagined a time when we would no longer be we, us, as a whole.

But one day, our Creator looked lovingly across this garden of blossoming, fragrant flowers planted in colorful clusters,

And knew that despite the array of incomprehensible beauty that we possessed,

Some were weakening, some were suffering, their life forces slowly ebbing away.

It was then that He lovingly reached His hand down to our garden,

Plucked nine of our most beautiful flowers,

And took them to His greenhouse filled with love, joy, peace, and healing for their souls and their spirits.

It was there, in His greenhouse, that they were separated from those crumbling shells and placed in the master’s garden

Where they will no longer suffer, wilt, nor weaken from the harsh elements in this world.

Though our garden is smaller, and our clusters are missing blossoms,

And the link that connected us as we’ve gone on this journey together is forever broken,

We have assurance in knowing that there will always be a part of those nine blossoms in our hearts,

In the air, in the soil, in the head, heart, and hand, and in the soul of Northfield Mount Hermon.

Must Look the Part

Must Look the Part

No one warns us about the silent, deadly damage of unacknowledged brokenness,

Or the miles of gaping wide potholes it leaves in our hearts

Like iron chains that reach way down into the depths of our souls.

In their hasty discomfort, they wrap their wounds in charade-drenched cloaks

While forcing us to swallow the bitter bile of our fractured foundations.

As we sup at the devil’s table,

Dining on lascivious lies and listening to the elders recount the sanitized version of our familial follies,

Not yet grasping the toll of so much human-inflicted carnage.

All are expected to readily participate in this putrid pot luck,

Neatly attired in our tailored threads of denial,

While the elders, knives and forks in hand, delicately dine on the remnants of our dignity.

“Chop! Chop! We must look the part!

No matter the poisonous dysfunction we’ve been forced to consume!

No, no! We mustn’t appear as shattered as we truly are!”

Our internal injuries continue to fester and any hope for healing bleeds out into our bellies,

And the pus of his filthy perdition now flows through our veins instead.

How do we love when we’ve only known this damaged brokenness that bruised our collective psyche?

How unfortunate for those who love us,

To sup at our infected table of lascivious lies.

It’s only a matter of time before we break you, too.

Poetry Reading – “Fare Thee Well” by Liane Elizabeth

Greetings beloveds!

As I struggle to emerge from my cocoon and become ALL that God has created and destined me to become, I’m grateful for the stops along the way. This journey to becoming myself is, at times frustrating, yet all the while intriguing and exhilarating!

Today, I found the recording of my first public poetry reading since my college days. I wrote this piece during my first experience with the State Theater of New Jersey’s Poetry Collective under the incomparable poet/artist/teacher, Glenis Redmond. The recording highlights all of the poets who shared so if you have about 90 minutes available, I encourage you to listen and take that magic carpet ride to Poetry heaven! My reading occurs from 35:35 – 43:30. I am exceptionally proud of this piece because it honors the love/relationship I had with my Uncle Bill, but even more so because it marks the beginning of my emergence as the poet I’ve always wanted to be! Enjoy and thank you for sharing with me!

www.youtube.com/watch