Sunday, February 19, 2017

The World Has Entered My Classroom

The world has entered my classroom.
Past and present and future,
Islands and oceans and continents,
Sit in a circle on my classroom floor -
Watching, waiting, wondering, wiggling,
Weeping, quarreling, pouting, giggling,
Pouring their everything into my heart.

War and Poverty fight over erasers.
Famine and Terror fold paper airplanes.
Racism blurts out impulsive answers
While Sexism quietly waits her turn.
Slavery and Suffrage and Civil Rights
And the royal lineage of African kings
Doodle absentmindedly in the margins of their notebooks.

Gunfire and bombs explode from
The grinding of the pencil sharpener and
The fingertips of unthinking playmates,
While lessons drift away on ocean breezes
Lost in the rustling fronds of palm trees
And the scent of orange groves.
The taste of coconuts tangles with the fear of police
As deportation hovers over hunched shoulders
And haunts tired eyes.

The world has journeyed here
Across rivers and mountains and oceans and deserts
By plane, by bus, by foot, by truck,
By rafts and boats and ships
Whose timbers now rot in underwater graves.

The sounds of a thousand dialects tickle
The tongues that chatter away at hard-won silences,
Mingling mysteries and histories of Chuukese and Vietnamese
Iraqi and Cherokee, Haitian and Jamaican and Filipino,
Ecuador, Guatemala and Peru,
Russia and Ireland and Sierra Leone,
Germany and other places lost and unknown
That brought forth these faces.

How can I carry the world in my heart?
It's too big, too big, too big for me.
Its stories sizzle my skin and burn through my fingertips.
Its sadness and cruelty, courage and beauty
And laughter and pain drown my blood
And flood my veins leaving me
Unable to contain the tidal waves.

The world has entered my classroom.

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Reeds,   bend but do not break.

Eagles,   soar above the fray.

Swans,   remind us to value grace.

Insects,   break down massive oaks.

Squirrels,   prepare.

Tigers,   attack.

Ants,   collect.

Nursing mothers,   feed your young.

Cats,   protect your territory.

Every soldier has a weapon.