By Elizabeth Zakaim
A bridge peeking out of the scarlet rose bushes.
A ladybug on the stem of a flower.
A wide expanse of sand and beach.
These are just some of the poignant and vivid images described in the 2017 winter edition of Lion’s Eye, the College’s literary magazine.
Published biannually, Lion’s Eye showcases writing and artwork from talented students at the College. Colorful paintings and catchy titles grab my attention as I skim through the pages of the magazine’s most recent publication.
The poem “Yellow T-shirt” by junior English major Grace Gottschling describes a father’s shirt and the memories associated with it. “It smelled like you/I think it was your deodorant/You never liked cologne.”
With its torn hem, this shirt represented a father lost from a daughter’s life. “You missed snow days/Beach trips/And the family camping trip/But most of all we missed you.”
It makes me wonder how lost this father is –– is he truly gone, or is he still alive, but just distant from his family? There’s a nostalgic, yet bitter tinge to this poem. “I hated your job/But you were my hero… You left again for another six months/You gave the yellow shirt back.”
It sounds like the story of a father who has forgotten a little girl who used to wait up for him when he got home late from work and looked forward to the nights spent watching TV together. It seems like this little girl has grown up and seen her father for what he really is: someone who has discarded his role as a father.
In addition to going down memory lane, this magazine takes me on a busy bus ride in another piece called “My Castle in Weehawken” by senior English major Alena Woods. A photograph of a glorious view of the city by Kimberly Iannarone, a former photo editor for The Signal and a junior psychology major, was placed next to Woods’s “Castle in Weehawken” and illustrates the the bustling urbanites she witnesses. As I read her words, I now have a place for my mind to travel.
“New Jersey transit buses are arks separating natives from suburban noisemakers. The ones who clog the pores of Port Authority like blackheads: with our inflamed egos and lack of direction.” Her prose creates a memorable image of expressionless transit commuters filling the streets like the pimples on a teenager’s face.
It reminds me of the quiet, yet enjoyable train rides I’ve taken from school to home for the past few semesters. I enjoy wearing the blank, anonymous face of any other commuter sometimes –– I feel like I’m blending in with the plain, gray walls of the train station.
Other times I’ve felt the same itch that Woods describes: the growing impatience as the bus moves sluggishly through its route or the feeling that I can’t get far enough away from the person next to me.
The painting called “Spoons” by freshman psychology major Rachel Edwards is artfully arranged next to “Summer Recipe” by Jackie Delaney, a former member of The Signal staff and a junior English and publishing and editing major. This recipe, which calls for ingredients such as two teaspoons of bad decisions and 22 ounces of ocean air, reminds us of the warmth of a season so far away.
As I flip my way through the pages full of text and art, I stop at Iannarone’s photograph “Lost in Sunset.” It illustrates a well-known hallmark of our generation: the omnipresent smartphone. The word “photoception” comes to mind as I find myself looking at a photo of a girl taking her own picture of the sun setting in between two buildings.
It reminds me of the digital world in which we are all so immersed. Yet, despite how absorbing our phones can be, we can also use them to catch a good picture at just the right moment, just like that girl capturing a golden sunset.
For me, this issue of Lion’s Eye is one dipped in both nostalgia and creativity. The stunning photography makes me yearn for the longer days of summer and sunsets on the beach.
I find myself thinking over the little moments in life that I wouldn’t normally dwell on –– a bus ride home, holding an old T-shirt –– and wondering if I can find poetry in these small moments, too.