It’s the first day of classes and this seems appropriate. The first part of succeeding is showing up… messy hair and all.
It’s not the holiday season I’m referring to. No, I’m referring to the season of student inquiries, lack of preparation, general disrespect, and teacher/professor burnout.
I give you “Did I Miss Anything?” by Tom Wayman.
Did I Miss Anything?
Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours
Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent
Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose
Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people on earth.
Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?
Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been gathered
but it was one place
And you weren’t here
Consider visiting “Poetry 180 / A Poem a Day for American High SchoolsHosted by Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003”, if you’re not too busy reading the syllabus two days before finals week.
Look, sometimes the soft and inspirational quotation gets us through the day. They work because we’re sentient, sensitive creatures. As a friend once told me, she loved too much. She was a sponge to the world, soaking up everything around her, both good and bad. That meant a lot of sad days for her.
Today, take another approach and stand in your strength.
You know that song that you used to sing and/or listen to over and over and over again because its resonance was so strong that it was almost scary? And then sometimes that song disappears for a while, only to return and remind you how perfectly it fits into your life? I’d like to thank Sara Bareilles for reminding me of that.
As I sit here, held by insomnia, it is a little hard to find motivation, especially when I look at the list of things I need to do. I just need to remember that I’ve soldiered on before, getting insane lists of things done in short order. Dare I say “Keep calm and… ?” This morning I have something else in mind.