Monday, January 21, 2013

Writing the Content of Our Lives- Part 2

The following poem was written as an exploration of retirement and my thinking that year.(See Writing the Content of Our Lives - Part 1) 

To help me play with ideas and discover new meanings, I borrowed the structure of Wallace Stevens's well-known poem, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.  Click here to read his poem.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at Leaving School
With thanks and apologies to Wallace Stevens

by Robin W. Holland

It is time to go
the energy sapped
 in years of rushing
and dashing

It is like snorkeling
until the skin is wrinkled
and breathing
is intermittent
yet satisfying

The classroom is the theater
the play will continue
after the many me’s exeunt

Twenty-two individual students are one
Twenty-two students and their teacher
are one
I don’t know which to prefer
The anticipation of planning
an exquisite educational experience
or the exultation of execution
or the afterthinking

The waters raged outside
As the sky blackened
Past our window a blackbird flew
Inside we meditated
On the value of freedom
In our soon to be
independent country

Train up a child in the way he should go
Spare the words and books and spoil the child

Learned men of old
And wise women infused
With intuition
Opine in the town square
While their children wait
at home for a morsel to eat
and a single word
to call their own

Higher orders
of angels proclaim
meanings and memories
and mathematic calculations
of poetic persuasions
and academic dissertations

It was a time of prosperity
And generous learning
Until the test devil and his minions
Entered our garden.

He rode high on his horse

Once upon a textbook weary
Three children looked through lenses leery
In vain to find themselves
Among the photos
and theory

Never let the children count the blackbirds
Before they hatch

It’s time to leave---
It’s end of the period
The bell is ringing.

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