Wednesday, January 20, 2010

saying goodbye

A Certain Chill
by Barry Trick

Though months ahead, June's sunny days
Now make me feel a certain chill.
The eighty essays on my desk
Appear and fade beneath a gaze
Now vacant, pen poised but paralyzed.
Just how could four and forty years
Soft sift through time's so narrow straits
With such amazing speed?      Indeed.
Am I not still the nervous grad
Once charged to teach some Frost and grammar
To freshmen restless for the weekend's
Dance or date? Or coach the failures
How to find some sense in Shakespeare's
Arcane verse or Steinbeck's prose?
There were some failures in my teaching
Too, of course.     Successes taste
Much sweeter, more fulfilling then.
Each memory is a name or a face
Still vivid after eight or ten
Or thirty-three or forty years.
I push aside the paper labeled
Pension Plan, for June is months
And months or even years away.
I'll turn to patient essays now
And lesson plans and grades updates.
June is still so very far away,
And I have much to do today.

One of the best teachers retired today. The type of teacher that you wish you had, the type of teacher you wish you could be, and the type of teacher that you rarely find in current schools. When I said goodbye to him today, my heart hurt.

As he writes in the introduction, "We have moments when prose can never describe our feelings because a special moment is so far from prosaic."

This poem reminds me that even great teachers have tiring days. It's a nice reminder at the end of the quarter.

poem from Sparks from the Anvil by Barry J. Trick. Bogota-San Juan: Argueso & Garzon Editores, 2007.