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My classroom

by Bet Yeldem

We read Plato,
discuss Socrates
and philosophy like
we are giving movie reviews
of the latest blockbuster film.
We laugh
and debate which opinions are more "right" and
whether or not one ultimate good
or higher truth
or greatest virtue is more real
or more valuable than another.

We make ourselves
face a mirror that shows only
One reflection - - our own, because
n o t h i n g
as much.

Freedom is just
the conquering of personal fears,
and we like living in
our discomfort zones,
our no bullshit zones,
our zones of proximal development,
arresting stagnation
at the door,
willing to confront
Life for what it’s worth
-- and as soon as we figure out
what it’s worth and what
it’s for, we’ll get back to you
riding on the back of science
fiction progress
until it doesn’t feel surprising
anymore that we
are attached to technology and
have forgotten
how to breathe underwater.

We read Plato,
discuss Socrates
And philosophy like we are kings in a land
ruled by overactive imaginations
and questions and questionsand questionsandquestions...
Who is love / Why is death
When is life / What is truth
How do you know what you know?

We enter and exit
caves of our own creation
running through darkness
and light like they are playgrounds
for searching souls.
We climb ladders with no rungs
because we remember that we were born
with the ability to fly
before we were taught that we were
mere infants
who instead of soaring had to learn to walk,
that we were mere mortals
who instead of singing from the womb
the songs we’d composed there had to learn
to imitate the sounds we heard
and they foolishly called them
our own first words.
We do hard things
precisely because
they seem damn near impossible
so that when we accomplish them
we learn our power
we know that our to-do lists
can unfold from here to the moon
and back, three times at least,
and still fit like origami cranes
in our palms.

We read Plato,
discuss Socrates,
and never have enough time
to experience
a single Moment of enlightenment
in all of its glory but we keep trying anyway,
realizing that soft rains will fall,
and that daffodils need fertilizer,
that Tuesdays and evening suppers are precious gifts
given before windows fail,
bringing equal parts love and loss,
by-products of our chosen actions.
And while we’re at this
business of making choices
we will paint
red wheelbarrows golden
like the sun
bringing miracles of new days,
like the goose’s egg
and everything that Midas touches.
We will be hobos and heroes,
doctors and disturbers of the peace,
saints and sinners,
teachers and tornadoes,
politicians and poets,
fairies and firecrackers,

We will be the greatest bedtime stories
ever written
with endings already perfectly scripted
in our fingerprints,
with plot lines
hoping for the chance to be told,
with narrators
on the tips of our tongues.


Author's Note: it's 3:00 a.m. i am supposed to be creating a final exam for my students. 11th grade. advanced reading. this came out instead. i'm exhausted and half asleep as i type this.

Posted on 01/13/2009
Copyright © 2024 Bet Yeldem

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 01/13/09 at 06:24 PM

The element of exhaustion is actually kind of present in this, and I think it really adds to the imagery and tone quite nicely.

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