Voices are raised to fill a need

A Writer's Life

Susan Tuz for
Susan Tuz for "A writer's life" columnNorm Cummings

The intensity of Hurricane Sandy left many of us in the dark, with no running water, and often in cold dank homes for days on end.

Perhaps we owe Sandy a nod of thanks for giving us some small insight into the lives of the members of the homeless population and those in need who live among us.

As a writer, I found myself composing a poem when I learned of the recent death of Paul Rake -- a homeless resident of New Milford.

I'd often seen Paul and his bicycle, laden with his possessions, on Bank Street. A nod would be exchanged between us as I passed him where he sat on the stairs at The Book Nook and I would move on.

But a day, like a poem, is only at its best when shared. And I never said a "Hello" to Paul, nor offered to share a morning cup of coffee.

My poem in his memory will be in my next book. But while words may warm the heart, they do little to warm the body on a cold winter's day.

That is why I and several other poets, along with local musicians, are lending our voices to an event Friday, Nov. 16 designed to bring in donations for the homeless shelter and the town's food pantry.

The evening of poetry and song will be held in Paul's memory, in the parish house of the First Congregational Church, behind the sanctuary along the Village Green from 7 to 9 p.m.

Musicians Missy Alexander, Don Lowe and Susanna Marker will be among those raising their voices in song.

Event organizer Neil Silberblatt, Joan Kantor of the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, and Faith Vicinanza -- founder of the long running Wednesday Night Poetry readings in Newtown and Bethel -- will be among the poets.

For admission to this free event, we ask you bring a donation item. Lists of items needed by the food pantry and the homeless shelter are available at Bank Street Coffee House and Theo's restaurant on Railroad Street.

Hope to see you on the 16th. Let's gather in Paul's memory.