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Mentor or Not?

by Sandy M. Humphrey

This is what happened
You were entrusted with youth
Given a soul to mold
A spirit to free
Instead you tried
to chain the stars
Channel the dreams
And choke the life
out of beauty

You could not
Yet every day
you had to stare
Into the chocolate circles
of tomorrow
It reminded you
Of one less day
of your own magic
Resentment and fury
built like cyclones
Until you knew
you had to extinguish
The rainbow
or at least remove it
From your presence

So you fired it
Manufactured the story
Signed it
Sealed it
Delivered it
And called it truth
Yet it doesn’t make it so
It just makes the story sad
And you bitter

The job still doesn’t get done
And the youthful spirit
Grows more free and beautiful
Without you…
End of chapter
Not end of story.


Author's Note: Some people should not work with young people...but perhaps young people will learn what not to do from the experience.

Posted on 11/10/2009
Copyright © 2020 Sandy M. Humphrey

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Gregory O'Neill on 11/10/09 at 10:37 PM

It takes genuine wisdom to be a mentor, the pleasure of which should come from instilling respect rather than trying embodying, force it for one self. It is a skill difficult for many, impossible for some. You've spoken well here of what happens when the wrong person is in place. Thanks.

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 11/11/09 at 08:37 PM

...sMh, i love this from start to finish, m'lady i once had either this person or her identical twin; she had me, called herself Princess and bygolly to her she was; and she was alllll about her mentor, mentor this mentor that; next semester she took Algebra, failing it, i asked did her mentor know of the difficulty and she snapped back[in Princess-ian fashion]"that's none of her business". man a feather could've knocked me over...love your words.

Posted by Olivia Martin on 11/16/09 at 01:41 PM

This piece speaks volumes -- well done! Unfortunately, a lot of youth (myself once included) look for mentors in the most unfortunate places, just hoping to belong, hoping for some sort of recognition -- childhood is a very delicate time, and you piece it together so beautifully.

Posted by Glenn Currier on 11/18/09 at 06:08 PM

Wow, Sandy, this one just pierces my heart. I am glad you had the chutzpah and the skill to write this. It is one of the most serious of sins to harm the young, but even more a horror when the perpetrator is unwilling to admit the fault and take responsibility. I have to believe that those who do this will be held accountable at some level eventually. Thanks Sandy, this has a tragic beauty.

Posted by Laura Doom on 03/16/10 at 12:30 AM

I'm not often given to quoting 'favourite' lines, but and choke the life/out of beauty sold me on this one.
Sad to acknowledge that this 'syndrome' is all too frequently exhibited not only by 'mentors', but also by parents, who often seem to forget they were once endowed with youth.

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