At first everyone was a bit surprised but this led to a short, meaningful discussion on death and impermanence, how important now, the moment is, how precious.
And then we all got busy. There was little more than the sound of pens and pencils pressing the page, tapping keys, and the chorus of seven poets breathing.
About 20 minutes later, we had each drafted our poetic last wills and testaments. One of the poets, among several who are skilled in both fiction and verse, chose a fictional persona who also had a most deft turn in the lyric tale. The others were more from the self but none was anything but heartfelt, stunning, and well-crafted. And the emotion rose, as did my pride for these wonderful beings with whom I am privileged to share what I know of writing.
I was the last to share my draft. After listening to each of these bright lights, as I always name them in my thoughts, I was just full of their language, authenticity, heart. As soon as I started the title, I was whimpering. I continued with falters and tears but got through the poem. All of us were overcome with emotion that had built through the near 2 hours together. We cried and we huddled in a hug. We declared how much we all love each other and then we sat down to breathe deeply, led by one of the marvelous young women.
Then we told sick, stupid jokes for 10 minutes to be ready to walk back into the world. It worked.
I will give them each a copy of the poem when I see them in another week when the spring session starts. They will be ready for more work and I will be ready to shepherd them through the hills and valleys of being a poet. What more could one ask for, anyway?
So here I give you the poem. You will know the next generation of voice:
Last Will and Testament
(as it stands today)