As a young woman, I wrote poetry. As a student at a private high school offering university level curriculum, I count myself lucky to have studied under Charlotte Gafford, poet laureate in the state of Vermont. She was a much-published poet and a rigorous taskmaster at the art of turning human emotions into a well-structured and deeply impactful poem. It was, she indicated, no task for the faint-hearted. Poetry was difficult to publish, and making a living as a poet virtually unheard of.

While I did go on to become a professional writer, I abandoned poetry long ago and for a variety of reasons. Occasionally, something compels me to write one, but as a rule my vocation is memoir, fiction or opinion.

I rarely read the poetry of The Sentinel, although I buy the paper daily. Once in a great while I do scan this section, sometimes wincing at what I read. I have, on several such occasions, noted one promising poet who contributes on a fairly regular basis. I am writing this letter because on Tuesday, June 18, he absolutely nailed it, in a poem titled, “Hurt’n.”

I made my spouse, no lover of poetry, listen as I read this aloud to him. He is a voracious reader of any material excepting this form. He listened, his mouth slightly ajar, and said, when I finished, “My God, that’s good.” And it is.

With quiet and haunting turns of phrase, Stephen Seraichick beautifully and movingly expresses the usually unseen turmoil of close human relationship. With quick, sure and authentic pain he expresses the gains and losses seen over the years, culminating in an uneasy friendship that while painful to have would be more hurtful to lose. His poem offers up the past with the wisdom of hindsight, with the regret of age, with the longing for what was and might still be. He expresses his here and now powerfully, and simply: “But the big house … always seems bigger when she’s gone … and damn if the rain never seems to stop.” Any human being who has had a lonely moment after a relationship leaves knows that feeling.

Congratulations, Mr. Seraichick, on a powerful and well-written poem. With an added chorus using the hook, “But hurt still hurts,” I also hear the lyrics to a charting country song. Thank you for sharing this with us. Please keep writing.

LAURA THOMPSON

260 Old Westport Road

Winchester