Because life is a series of edits

Teaching You by Ann Heyse

In Education, Poetry, Westminster on March 16, 2010 at 9:36 am

My English-teaching colleague and friend, Ann Heyse, wrote a wonderful poem for Westminster's Poetry Slam last month. I asked her if I could post it here, as it speaks so beautifully of her passion for trying to teach students who don't always want to learn.

Teaching You
You have it mastered: that attentive façade of interest,
the not-quite blank stare that hides your misery.

You nod, even, at times answer questions, turn in your work, listen to me,
mistakenly thinking that somehow you are doing your work for me.

Your face feigns attention,
I know and you know about
your gathering storm.

How inside,
your light’s nearly extinguished,
your help’s long fled,
your safe harbor's destroyed.

I cannot fix or fight your darkness; these are the demons that cling to you,
not me (I have my own).

But here is what I can give:

Prattle to fill your days.

It is only part distraction; more, it is weapon: I give you words, commas,
sometimes novels to remind you there are stories like yours,


the best weapon against your darkness is
ordinary moments that build upon
ordinary moments that build upon ordinary moments

Until, you see,
You have built yourself a shelter.
And you can hide there until one day
You, the real you,
smiles back at me.

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