Spencer Hall, Poet Laureate 2005


The 2005 Poet Laureate is Spencer Hall. His poem is titled "Beyond One Hour Developing."

Our families watch us

through camera lenses

as we stand

struggling with this awkward

balance between night lights

and nightlife

knowing the scale will soon

tip decisively towards



And these photographs


soon to be developed,

will be placed on

album pages

meshing seemlessly

with the past.


Because through the years

our parents have taken

picture after picture,

molded them together

in scrapbooks,

surrounding them with

colored paper and


and successfully turned

life into simple



So we look back

at the already

fading photographs

of our past

and recall each

memory in blurred

sepia tone detail.


A fireman helmet,

covered with a fine film

of dust,

lays beside a pile of

rubble and we’re taught

harsh lessons about

& the frailty of true heroes.


Because for too long

we relied on concise

definitions spat at us

by text books

and cliff notes,

highlighted and

folded into our



And these changing ideas 

were accented by

evolving faces amongst 

our administration 


who we believed

held the answers.

and who kept us from

stopping for too long

to smell the flowers,


which we slid onto

the girls’ wrists

as they pinned

roses to our lapel.

And we danced,

refusing to stand

by the wall with

our hands in

our pockets


where we stuffed tickets,

and in our final year

our cheers overflowed

from the bleachers

and flooded the hardwood

during intense games.


And though the pictures

from today

will soon be added

to the albums or

hung on the wall,

they are merely

frozen actions.


Because the scale is tipping

and it’s now that

we enter real life

(as if the only life

we’ve known was either

a board game or 

cereal box). 


The film is

already wound

The flash is

charged and

the shutter

is waiting.


And as we make

these transitions

the cameras

are placed in

our hands,

and we become

the care takers of

our own scrapbooks;

so all that’s

left is to

focus and

snap the shot

that we’ve arranged.


-Spencer Hall

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