NOTE: Here's a graduation poem, of sorts, for June, composed on the occasion of my retirement from public education in 2004. It was written for my fine and faithful colleagues in the Department of English at White Plains High School and read to them at the last meeting of the school year and, blissfully, the last meeting of my career. For the record, they listened attentively and sympathetically, but mostly wanted to go home and get their summers started. For more occasional and non-occasional poems and musings, go to alanwalowitz.com.
In the Company of English Teachers
There are better ways, I suppose, to spend one’s days:
above the battle between those who mourn
Old Gerund’s passing
and those who kick dirt on his grave;
between those who seek a kinder, gentler tome and those
who’d as soon see little Piggy skewered
just to remind how kinder, gentler we are not now
but maybe could be
if only we would read.
But me, I’ll take what I’ve found here
beyond the din of logarithms
that couldn’t help anyone
out of the forest of his grief
on a cold and lonely night.
Here, history is not allowed to lie--
as in those books of purported fact,
when what really happened is incontrovertible:
Huck and Jim keep floating past Cairo
again and again. Here broken beakers, (which,
I hypothesize, speak only in shards of truth)
won’t ever cause a broken heart.
In times of despair I myself have wished to
scatter those balls in the gym,
holler, Play! and proudly proclaim
some battle was won on the playing fields
of Eton, where our mother tongue
lies gasping. But surely not here.
Here, among us, we have made a place
where even those old and out of breath
might settle in and for a time
make a home not only out of words
but of what they’re worth.
© 2018 Alan Walowitz
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF