It is an honor to have been asked to write an introduction to The Noblest, which is a collection of some of the work of a small group of people from different walks of life who came together in a writing workshop I gave at the John Noble Maritime Museum a few years ago. Together, we shared our writings, we listened to each other, and we grew into a family of friends. As you read their thoughts, their ideas, their stories, you will come to glimpse them as I have been privileged to do.
Their poems, stories, and memoirs speak for themselves. They have opened their hearts and souls in their writings. Initially, I did not want to detract from their accomplishments with my own writings, but they are a persistent group and they prevailed. Tread softly as you read our works and enter into our lives. We hope our writing speaks to you and that you find a friend or two in these pages and that the words conjure memories, stimulate imagination, take you to special places, and give you pause to think.
May I start you on your journey with a poem of my own.
The letters leak from pens and pencils
Like twisted linguine from aged grinders
Into word salads that whisper feelings
Sometimes buried, sometimes throbbing,
Sometimes happy, sometimes sobbing.
Pictures form of people
Living quiet lives in troubled times –
Laughing, crying, sighing,
Dreaming, loving, praying,
Probing, wondering, remembering.
They are the seasons of the years,
The colors of the rainbow.
Their images cling and clang,
Stir and penetrate, invigorate and celebrate.
They sing like the sunrise
That while much may be taken
Much abides and flourishes.
Read our words and listen to our hearts
With reverence, kindness, gratefulness and awe
And learn once more – we are not alone
And all of us – including you - still have much – so much more to give.
George R. Hopkins