Letter to Sir Sidney Poitier: To sir with love

Letter to Sir Sidney Poitier: To sir with love
The late Sir Sidney Poitier plays Homer Smith in "Lillies of the Field" (1963).

Dear Editor,

Here is an ode I wrote to the late Sir Sidney Poitier, (February 20, 1927 to January 6, 2022).

If only I could find
That poem of Sidney Poitier

In one of my several
Hundred notebooks,

One of more than
A dozen poems that
I have written of him,

How happy I would be

I could feel in every cell
Of my anatomy
How just-right that one was

Lost somewhere in one
Of my many notebooks
 Before I was able to type it out

Written 12 or so years ago,
That poem now is like
A needle in a haystack,
My poem, to sir, with love

Oh, God, now Sidney Poitier,
At 94, has passed away,
On January 6th, four days ago

And what can I say in verse
Of who has meant so much to me

I have a Bachelor of Arts
Degree in Speech & Drama,
First step to follow in his footsteps

Bahamian teenager, inspired
To become an actor, a movie star

Oh, but the almighty ordained
That I blaze another trail,

That I give my life to writing instead,
To being a poet, and I obeyed,

Regardless of income,
Regardless of the sacrifice
That that is, that this has been

Followed Sidney Poitier though
All the way to as far as he could take me

I recall following Dylan Thomas,
Ernest Hemingway,

William Carlos Williams,
William Shakespeare, similarly

Until I was where there could
Be no guide but God

Who made me individual,
Who made me unique

It is that one unrepeated, unrepeatable
Entity that each of us is,
That we are called to be

Precious, holy, divine because
We were made once, like
No one in creation whoever was

Oh, to define self, to self-define,
Like Poitier, like Mandela,
Like Peter O’Toole, like Peter Ustinov,

Who show us how to self-proclaim,
How to self-embrace

How to be as beautiful as when
In season, a Poui tree blossoms

So many flowers that
They are raining down,
That they are falling off,

Forming a ring of
Petals around where
The tree leaves the ground

Like those ones, so very tall
And so very large
In the front yard

Of The Dundas Centre
For the Performing Arts,

Where the heart
Of the dramatic arts
Beats on, beats still

© Obediah Michael Smith

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