almost-17
Joy
by Neil Creighton

At seventeen I met Joy Bevan,
her voice so soft and low,
her mind entirely beautiful.
her gentle inner glow.

At seventeen she was my guide
through the realms of gold.
With a kindly, skillful, gentle hand
she let those realms unfold.

At seventeen she showed me treasure
beyond all place and time,
deep, powerful, beautiful and sad,
a complex journey of the mind.

At seventeen she helped me love
a landscape littered with jewels,
said the journey and not its end
should be your lifelong rule.

At seventeen I gave poor thanks
for her gifts and dedication.
Now, decades later, I sing her praise
In sad, posthumous recognition.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION. Almost 17, partnering a classmate at a debutant ball (Werribee, Victoria, Australia, 1964).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Joy Bevan was my English Literature teacher for my last year of school. My father was in the RAAF and we led a gypsy life, criss-crossing the Australian continent. School was dull until my last school, Werribee High School, my fourth in five years. It was an unprepossessing school in an unprepossessing town outside of Melbourne but it had Joy Bevan. She opened up to me the world of literature, changing my life in the way that great teachers do. Each day in her class was a privilege and pleasure.

neil-creighton

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neil Creighton is an Australian poet with a passion for social justice, a love of people and the natural world. His work as a teacher of Drama and English made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned. In addition to Silver Birch Press, his recent publications include Prosopisia, Poetry Quarterly, Praxis Online Mag,  Social Justice Poetry, Whispers in the Wind, and Verse-Virtual, where he is a contributing editor. He blogs at windofflowers.blogspot.com.au.