Last week Friday, May 7th, my husband Bill and I hosted a celebratory dinner for our daughter Elizabeth and five of her fellow Furman University college graduates. We invited parents, grandparents, siblings, significant others, and Lizzie’s mentor Dr. Michele Speitz, Director, Furman Humanities Center.
There were thirty-six of us total (plus one very adorable baby!), and I booked out Northampton Wine + Dine for our event. The more dinners I host, the more I realize how fun and memorable it is to add a little something special, a little something unexpected.
For this dinner I wrote to the parents and the mentors asking them to compose a sonnet for their graduate, something we could read aloud during and in-between courses. The subject of the email was Can We Sonnet? and it went like this:
Sorry so late in the evening…
Next week Friday we will all be together celebrating the collective achievements of Elizabeth, Chloe, Olivia, Abigail, Claire, and Will, and the Furman Class of 2021, woot!
We will begin with a short cocktail hour, and then move to a seated, simple, 3 course dinner. I LOVE dinner, and dinner parties particularly, and for special occasions, I always like to include a little element of surprise and delight.
For this evening I invite you to write, and read aloud, a sonnet to your graduate.
I know, FREAK OUT, yikes: 14 lines, unimaginable, out loud. We can do this. We can take turns quietly applauding these six young adults that have persevered through a college experience that has been uncharted, and remarkable. I’m not quite sure I can do it, tears might flow, so I might have one of Lizzie’s siblings stand in, and that’s okay too. Also, okay to opt out, although I hope you all opt in.
All I can say is don’t go down the google rabbit hole of how to write a sonnet, that will make us all definitely opt out. 🙂
I’m going to try and simply write a short piece from the heart, about this child we love with heart and soul, and share it with you next Friday.
I hope you’ll join me in this poetry reading by reading out loud something to your daughter or son (or student!); Bill and I look forward to meeting and celebrating with you.
Everyone obliged! It was fantastic.
So that I might remember this lovely evening, I am including here what I wrote for Elizabeth.
Dear Buddha Goddess Child
You bless us with your soulful will
Your day is your own, not time-stamped
And you deliver deeply, still
Take us to the lakes with you
Sing to us, write for us, simply be with us
When you decide, you have everywhere to go
Speechless, large brown eyes, quiet, alone
In your crib in a very small room, you shown
Loquacious, filter-less, elusive, gorgeous
Celebrated college scholar
Thirsty for knowledge, willing to tower
Permeable, so much love and compassion for others
Birthday gifts and double cake in August
Your sister and you as one
Good cake, tender and moist like your tears
That easily and importantly flow
Is always a good thing
Let’s try and make it slow
Here’s to you and your sweet future dear Elizabeth
May your orbit continue to be stellar
Your Dad and I love you always and forever
So, there you have it. Yes, my bold text is way more than fourteen lines, I’m calling it a ‘modern sonnet’ and I also had trouble formatting in WordPress, details. We went out on a bit of a limb, everyone read aloud a little something different, and our evening was marked in a way, helping to make a group come together that have never really met before. I loved it, and I hope others did too.
Our one renaissance gentleman, Will, fully loved and celebrated, not featured here with photos, sorry Will.
Every day dress, can we sonnet?