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I was inspired to write this poem after reading a poem composed by Naomi Shihab Nye entitled "Visiting My Old Kindergarten Teacher, Last Day of School."

Mimi Edmunds, a former literacy student of mine, and I share a deep admiration for Nye's poetry. I wrote this poem for Mimi and for me, and for all the educators I've known who experience the coming and going cycle of teaching.

 

they come and they go

pristine boxes of crayons with perfect points
proud, unsharpened pencils and unblemished erasers
in their warm, sweaty, hopeful hands
they come;
the children appear at our door.

we open to their fresh faces, eager minds
anxious to hear their stories and tell them ours.
odd that we begin at harvest
when the Earth readies itself for the fallow time.
we dig and plow and plant our gardens.

we tell and read stories and adventure together;
we write poems and make memories together.
we organize and rebuild the worlds we know
and construct new worlds that could exist
if only in our imaginations.

we celebrate
the changing seasons of our minds.
we celebrate
the changing shapes of our bodies
and the light that enters our room at different angles.

we bury our hands and heads in stuff,
in ideas and possibilities;
and we make a mess and clean it up
and make a mess and clean it up
and make a mess all over again.

then all of a sudden, spring burns hot
and the last day comes with the promise
of freedom, of unplanned time
that draws us out the door of this
hallowed space

where we came together
where we could not remain forever.
we hug and wave goodbye and
they go
with stubby pencils in their warm, sweaty, larger hands.

and not even the hollow emptiness of this room
not even all of the plans left undone
not even this breaking in our hearts
can keep us from doing it all over again
next year.

©2006 Judi Moreillon

Updated: 23 May 2007


Judi Moreillon: Home | Author | Educator | Advocate