OES Upper School Voice Newsletter

A Message from the Division Head

by Asha Appel

Need to Know for Friday, June 14

And summer is here. 

While we celebrated the end of high school with our seniors, we also celebrate the ongoing journey of all our students, who also moved along one year 

Billy Collins' famous poem "On Turning Ten" is about growing up, this passage of time that both ages and matures. I offer it now as a way to reflect on the rites that define coming of age, in all its beauty and pain and discovery:

"The whole idea of it makes me feel

like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light--
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed."