It's been a while since I've posted any of my poetic musings; it's been a dry spell brought on by too much of nearly everything. Lately, I've been thinking a great deal about what I do in the classroom--what am I really doing there.
“If you are not here faithfully among us,
you are causing terrible damage.”
Where are you? How did you get here?
On whose back? On whose shoulders?
Did you get here playing by the rules?
Subverting the rules? Bending the rules?
Did you arrive by bus, train, by straight road or
mountain path or, trackless, cross-country?
Did you arrive by grabbing hold and
refusing to let go or by letting go, fearful,
of the fall? Did you arrive alone
or in the company of a friend or teacher.
Perhaps a company of pilgrims?
I suspect no one who traveled well traveled here alone.
My guess is we’ve traveled with companions
more than by ourselves. My guess is no one would
or could arrive here alone. My story clearly suggests
this. However tall I may stand, it is always on the shoulders
of giants, Christophers, who carried me across rivers.
If not well, that is, alone, something
is wrong, something stunted. Deformed. We are
not simply alone but lonely. Maybe frightened.
Imposing our loneliness and pain on others
we bang into, accidentally or on
purpose, damaging others in our care.
Remaking others in our image more than,
Virgil like, guiding persons out of their personal
hell through purgatory to their own Beatrice.
We have a language; it defines us as greater than,
more authoritative. Our jargon—insider language—
and the assumptions/attitudes that say clearly
but without words: be like me.
Use my language (for Christianizing Indians.
For uninvited immigrants.) My language.
My vocabulary. My tone.
I wonder. What do we really teach?