Greenburgh Arts And Culture

         "We celebrate the creative arts!"

Sarah Bracey White, Executive Director. Advisory Board: Kevin Morgan, Town Board Liaison;  Gwen Cort, Carolyn McNair, and Barbara Mohr

   

Featured Caravan Poet: Sandra Hauss  

[Sandra Sturtz Hauss is a poet whose inspirational writings have been published by Blue Mountain Arts as greeting cards, on calendars and in many anthologies.  Her work appears on various websites on the Internet and in journals including Oasis 2008, and the prize-winning A Slant of Light;  memoir pieces have been published in Good Old Days and Looking Back magazines, and one by Benchmark Press, The 60’s: Times of Change, as an educational tool. A poetic essay was set to music by Jon Schmidt and appears on YouTube as “Tranquility.” Her debut chapbook, Contours, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2016. 

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hunter College, Ms. Hauss holds a masters degree from the College of New Rochelle in Teaching Gifted/Talented students . Recipient of an Educator of Excellence award, she taught for 29 years, mostly in a program for gifted elementary school students where she shared her love of poetry, writing, and theater, classical music, and animal welfare.  An active member of the Poetry Caravan for about 12 years, Ms. Hauss also attends ekphrastic poetry workshops, writing roundtables and poetry study groups. She and her husband live in Westchester with their three cherished cats.]


       Natasha’s Story – A (Fictional) Sestina

 

She stood outside the courtroom door,

this young impressionable lass of seven;

Judge Jameson had given his ruling after hearing her parent’s story.

Inside Natasha’s head raged a violent storm,

searing pain which found no voice

as she tried in vain to make the right

 

 decision. This devastated child, forced to write

 the name of the parent on whose doorstep

 she would land:  whose voice

 would guide her for seventeen

 formative years?  Poor Natasha stormed

 bitterly off, her tragic tale no longer a storybook

 

 childhood. Soon she began her new life in a third-story

 walk-up with her father, a minor poet named Joshua Wright.

 One night, during a fierce thunderstorm,

 Natasha found a notebook and pencil under her door.

 She wrote about wanting to sail the seven

 seas; suddenly all her previously unvoiced

 

 emotions and dreams came pouring out.  Natasha had found her voice,

 knew she was about to change history,

 planned to spend the next seventy

 years of her life writing.

 She smiled, thinking her words could become the doorway

 to the happiness of others.  She began to brainstorm

 

 ideas for poems, essays, interviews – a gale-storm  

 of possibilities.  She followed that little voice

 inside her head to unlock the door

 marked ‘Success’ by telling inspirational stories.

 Yes, she was making the right

 move; Natasha, once so forlorn, was in seventh

 

 heaven.  Our prolific heroine lived to be ninety-seven,

 felled by lightning during a severe rainstorm.

 She left behind a lifetime of brilliant writing,

 and, like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Oprah Winfrey, was the voice

 of reason for generations of women.  Her Pulitzer-prize-winning life story

 became an Oscar-nominated film: The Turnabout Life of Natasha Doerr.

 

Even a young girl of seven whose life seems gloomy can open the door

to success, can turn a stormy start into a success story.

Natasha listened to her inner voice and everything turned out right.

 


                          Counting

 

Every day we’d play outside.

Eight-year olds, we soaked up

fresh air and sunshine, separated

till dinnertime from mothers

who threw sweaters and ice-cream

money from fourth-story windows.

 

It all revolved around numbers:

Potsy – like Hopscotch, we’d land

on consecutive boxes, jump, reverse

back to three, two, finally one.

 

Jacks – we threw that little ball

in the air, picked up six-pronged

metallic stars by ones, twos,

all the way to ten for the win.

 

Jumprope – daily we jumped

to a rhythm, steady enders propelling

us with  steady hand as we recited

our special verses: Jane and Johnny

sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

 

And how we loved anything

you could bounce a ball to,

run every letter of the alphabet:

S my name is Sandy

And my husband’s name is Sam

We live in Sioux City

And we sell switchblades.

 

We counted.

We counted on our friends

to call for us, consider us

part of the gang.

 

We counted.

In our world of Jewish immigrants,

most families had no more than two

children.  Parents counted on us

to justify their survival.

 

We counted the hours till dinner,

the days till summer,

the years till we could marry Sam

and sell switchblades.

We counted the hours till dinner,

the days till summer,

the years till we could marry Sam

and sell switchblades.


       A Poem in Three Acts With Three Narrators,

       After Edward Hopper’s Das Sheridan Theater, 1937

1.

I was born to be Olga.

It is not her performance

that invites my sobs but

knowing she voices my lines,

the pathos only I could have

conveyed on that stage

night after night.

 

Every night a constant lament, my

arms carefully balanced on this

railing for support, fists clenched

as I watch from a distance, a primal

scream barely contained in my belly.

I am Olga, eldest, who would have

married anyone if only he had asked.

 

2.

Your eye is drawn to the orange stripe, no?

See how I painted his knee bent, clasped his

hands so brilliantly? Can you feel the ennui,

his disconnect from the cast of characters?

All of them, on stage, in the audience, even

the star of my fanciful rendering.

 

Each has a tale to tell, a life you read from

their faces, voices, carriage; my usher is nameless,

this purveyor of playbills and cushioned chairs.

He seems bored but he is studying. Perhaps

someday he will play Andrei.

 

3.

I do not prefer Russian playwrights. Too dark,

so philosophical, always a struggle. Sarah, do

you love me more for accompanying you to these

overblown, overlong diatribes? My face does

not betray my thoughts; for that I am grateful.

 

Intermission. I rush to the back, past the young

usher in blue, practically taste the Merlot, much

overpriced  but too long awaited. My Sarah,

unaware I have spent the first act composing

what to say to that attractive person sobbing

as she clutches the railing.