I am proud to announce that I am one of thirty writers who will have a poem included in a forthcoming anthology titled Dare to Dream…Change the World. The book will be published by Kane Miller. It will be released next fall.
Jill Corcoran is the individual responsible for putting together this “inspirational” anthology with poems about exceptional individuals who “dared to dream” and accomplished great things during their lifetimes.
We poets worked in pairs. I partnered with my friend Janet Wong. I wrote a biographical poem; Janet wrote an inspirational poem.
My contribution to Dare to Dream is a poem about Jonas Salk—the man who developed the first polio vaccine in the 1950s. I chose Salk as my subject because I remember how frightened parents were back then that their children might contract the dread disease—one that had crippled so many. Highly infectious, poliomyelitis—also known as infantile paralysis—chiefly affected children.
I can still vividly recall standing in line at Peabody City Hall when I was about eight or nine years old waiting to get vaccinated. I also recall how relieved everyone was after the Salk vaccine had been declared safe and effective. Jonas Salk changed the world for me and for millions of others.
Here is a poem I wrote about the day that I got my first polio vaccination. By the way, it is not the poem that will be included in Dare to Dream.
Dear Doctor Salk,
It’s a steamy summer day.
I remember a day like this more than a half century ago
When I stood in line at City Hall
Watching other children get polio vaccinations.
I saw them grimace as needles pricked their arms.
I was afraid. Would it hurt? Would I cry when my turn came?
I neared the table that held a tray of hypodermics.
A nurse daubed my arm with a cotton swab.
I closed my eyes, felt a stab of pain.
I walked away wondering if I would be safe now,
Protected from the dread disease
That could paralyze me.
Would I ever have to walk with braces on my legs?
Would I ever be trapped inside an iron lung?
Soon headlines shouted, “Polio Is Conquered!”…“Polio Routed!”
President Eisenhower presented you with the Medal of Merit
For your dedication to service.
He said he had no words to thank you.
You had worked endless hours, sacrificed—not for money…not for fame…
But for the good of mankind.
When asked who owned the patent on your vaccine, you replied,
“There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”
I needn’t have wondered or worried that summer day at City Hall.
I was immunized against the virus that had crippled so many.
I have no words to thank you, Doctor Salk.
Here are the poets of Dare to Dream…Change the World:
• Alan Katz
• Alice Schertle
• Bruce Coville
• Carol Tanzman
• Curtis Crisler
• David L. Harrison
• Denise Lewis Patrick
• Elaine Magliaro
• Ellen Hopkins
• Georgia Heard
• Hope Anita Smith
• Hope Vestergaard
• J. Patrick Lewis
• Jacqui Robbins
• Jane Yolen
• Janet Wong
• Jill Corcoran
• Joan Bransfield Graham
• Joyce Lee Wong
• Joyce Sidman
• Julia Durango
• Kelly Fineman
• Laura Purdie Salas
• Lee Bennett Hopkins
• Lisa Wheeler
• Marilyn Singer
• Rebecca Kai Dotlich
• Rose Horowitz
• Stephanie Hemphill
• Tracie Vaughn Zimmer
Click here to read more about Dare to Dream at Jill Corcoran’s’s blog.
Laura Purdie Salas has the Poetry Friday Roundup today. (Note: Laura has moved her blog from LiveJournal to Wordpress.)