Friday, July 20, 2007

The Last Express to Hogwarts -- a Poetry Friday post

Today's poem is about (what else?) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I found this beauty in yesterday's issue of Shelf Awareness, Thursday, July 19, 2007, Vol. 1, Issue 478. It's by Jennifer Brown, who contributes children's book reviews to Shelf Awareness on a weekly basis, with occasional, additional children's news stories. Jenny Brown's history in children's books includes a stint as children's reviews editor at Publishers Weekly for the past 10 years. Prior to that, she was was marketing manager at Scholastic Press, editorial director at the Pleasant Company, and worked in children's books at HarperCollins as editorial director of Trophy Paperbacks and educational marketing director. Much of the proceeding bio was ganked directly from Shelf Awareness's press release when Jenny came on board back in April, 2007.

Jenny wrote a poem which summarizes much of what I and many other Pottermaniacs are feeling in the final hours before the book goes global. Huge thanks to Jenny for so graciously allowing me to reprint her poem here for Poetry Friday.

The Last Express to Hogwarts

by Jennifer M. Brown

It is the eve of our last trip to Hogwarts.

Can you think back to that very first time?
The discovery that we are all merely Muggles?
That first taste of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans,
Strawberry, curry, coffee and sardine?
Harry's maiden ride on the Nimbus Two Thousand,
And his victorious capture of the Snitch in Quidditch?
Wasn't it all a wonderful surprise?

For Harry it's been seven years,
For us, nearly nine.
The children themselves championed Harry Potter
And the Philosopher's-turned-Sorcerer's Stone in the fall of 1998.
Impatient readers ordered the sequels from Amazon UK.
Their infectious enthusiasm precipitated
A global [English-language] release date for the Goblet of Fire.
Generations read the books aloud together,
Stood in midnight lines together,
Filled movie theaters to capacity,
And witnessed Richard Harris's departure
Before it was beloved Dumbledore's time to go.
And, as Harry broke all records for sales and first printings,
The children prompted the birth of their own New York Times bestseller list.

The children grew up with Harry,
In a trailblazing series that literally matured with its hero.
Laura may have grown up in the woods of Wisconsin,
And on the shores of Silver Lake,
But, in the Order of the Phoenix, we suffered through Harry's adolescence,
Excruciating for its perfect resonance with our own.
When the insidious, unidentifiable threat of terrorism invaded our shores,
Voldemort was a knowable villain.
Evil had a face, and Harry had faced him down--
With a scar on his forehead to prove it.
What more heartening message
Could one give a child?

So, as we stand on Platform Nine and Three-Quarters,
Awaiting the last train to Hogwarts,
We taste the same bittersweetness
That those seniors must taste.
Excited, but a little sad, to graduate from a place
We've embraced as part of our own community.
And though we will bid farewell to Harry, Hermione and Ron
On the final page (one or two of them perhaps sooner),
They await our return at every rereading.

Millions of children grew up with Harry,
And whether they go back to their video games,
Or go on to be lawyers or teachers,
Writers or booksellers,
Their lives have been touched by magic.

They won't forget Harry.
And neither will we.

You can find today's Poetry Friday roundup at Mentor Texts and More.


Michele said...

I feel like such a heel because I'm not only not excited about HP7 being out tomorrow, I'm actually dreading it - and resenting the time it'll take me away from my own writing...

Oh dear, I've fallen out of love with Harry Potter thanks to a certain lanky Time Lord...

Michele said...

OK, I've now read HP7 - and enjoyed it more than I thought I was going to - my impatience faded away as the story took hold...

Kelly Fineman said...

Somehow, I figured you'd lose your irritation once you started the book. It was wonderful, I thought.

And I thought I posted a reply yesterday about seeing David Tennant on TV at the LiveEarth concert, but perhaps not . . .

Candace Salima . . . the LDS Nora Roberts said...

Thanks for sharing this -- it was delightful. The Harry Potter experience has been unique to readers and writers alike. Cudos to J.K. Rowling for such a fantastic journey into her mind and the creation of a magical land residing right within our own.

I'm sad it's over. I hate to say good to Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

This poem has inspired me to write a song called "Last Train to Hogwarts," (to the tune of "Last Train to Clarksville)...unless it's been done already.

Kelly Fineman said...

I'm glad you liked it -- this week's post went up late, but it went up. (Wordsworth, btw.)