by KEVIN CORDI on FEBRUARY 19, 2011
(In honor of the Oral History Institute at Kenyon College)
To grasp, hold, secure, never let go, reach out to reach in
stories fly around the world, city, neighborhood, front door
fast, furious, sometimes deliberate but
you stand at the ready, equip with tools
to ask, ponder, inquire, wonder, to spark curiosity
To ask again, to listen more,
to be there
When the story flies.
To be there
when it lands,
to make sure
it arrives safely to a place
that cares for it.
“Bald Eagle” by Ryan McFarland is licensed under CC BY 2.0
You are those care takers, those story
keepers who stand at the ready for the
oral history of today and tomorrow.
Where another toss can be thrown.
“Caretaker's Pad” by Damian Gadal is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Another story pitched,
and because of you
It is not forgotten.
It again lands in warm hands, polishing and buffeting it so that
the original gloss shines
Forming a living archive of memory, reflection,
“Rewinding the tape” by Marcin Wichary is licensed under CC BY 2.0
You know the value of rewind.
Transcribed from old devices, notes, words, sounds,
so that it stands as it once was,
A story, old yet fresh and new.
Eager listeners wait to hear it again.
Catching the stories, throw, release,
the collection grows.
Another story is thrown
And you are there.
I had the pleasure of studying with the authors of this book. In the 2010 summer we explored what it meant to “catch stories.” We owe a great deal to the oral story catchers of the world. Here is a poem acknowledging their work. We invite you to write your thanks to the story catchers in your life.
Be sure to subscribe to learn more about story practices. We would love to hear from you. "Tell on. Listen more." KC