This is the product of a few days of writing time. It was the last Occasional Paper I did for my students graduating in 2016, and it came out more poemy than papery. If I was trying to write a poem, I’d still be stuck about 3 lines in.
I haven’t written much poetry since I was an angsty adolescent (or 20 something). Except for that one poem about a suicide. Maybe I’ll revisit that one one of these days.
(Hashtag appropriated from a social media post by a Class of 2012 235er)
(235 is my classroom)
The end of years is always hard for me
Hard because endings are not my thing
And because we are approaching
The end of this joyfully intoxicating congregation
The spirit of exploration
Swashed around in inspiration
Taken in and down with honey and august.
We landed here together 350 days ago
nervous, or excited (depending on the lighting)
with a whole lot of time and a realm of possibility
laid out ahead of us.
Now, all but behind us,
An inhale, and an exhale,
and it’s time to move ahead again.
Because though we worked a lot,
there is always more to know.
Always more to figure out.
Always more to sketch into to the drawing of our lives.
And in a time when it seems like there is so much
that doesn’t make sense,
when our screens scream hate and vitriol,
when discord seems the soundtrack of the times,
when teaching people how to guard against victimization
takes precedence over crafting the compassion
and empathy that cultivate kindness,
When courses are charted by fear,
we inhale and exhale,
and we love.
In a course named for a test
We are tested
Can we be AP
And still be we?
Do our voices matter or is it
Just matters of rhetoric?
Building blocks of language
Mapping trails where there was nothing
Seeing what you are capable of becoming
I have watched you read the world
And write your way into conversation with it
So it can never shut you down
Leave you out
Make you feel unworthy
You are none of that.
And you are everything.
I see you
Transgress, transcend, transform expectations
Shaping bountiful realities
Inhale. And Exhale.
I am not a counter of days.
About anything really,
but definitely not school.
Definitely not in the “7 more Mondays” kind of way.
But I am always acutely and urgently aware
that we are running out of days.
So I inhale. And exhale.
Grateful for the inspiration
That has flowed within these walls
In a sort of harmonic resonance.
That leaves a permanent echo
So a trace of you remains.
235ers, Like plants
breathe in energy and breathe out genius
And we carry our own light
I am not a counter of days
But the fullness of our time has come
And I am grateful in uncounted ways
For all the things that you have done
That filled this room with family.
When a place can hold your tears as often as
And has room to let you face your fears,
still feel safe, though challenged
Where you can choose to love –
To live in love –
You have helped to build a home.
And home is always here.