Friday, November 30, 2012

Ode to Teachers

You teachers of the young,
we their parents thank you.
Not in paltry sums of money,
though our taxes give you that,
but in our better, deeper hearts.

You tame the wildness of our children.
You temper their devilish ways.
You hold them in straight lines
and within dotted lines,
which we can never achieve in a hundred afternoons.
You make them read, when we are busy reading.
You make them ask questions we would shun to answer.
You mold of them persons suited to learning,
who showed us few signs of teachability.

Countless hours you spend crafting
words and activities to guide our young,
on paths of gradual difficulties,
while we plan nothing, taking what they give us,
and expecting behavior we ourselves struggle to exhibit.
Therefore you have the stronger influence
over their minds and their discipline.

With godlike patience you teach them letters,
numbers, sums, and fractions,
while juggling the demands of a fickle government
and a still more fickle public,
that too often undervalues the supreme value
of your ceaseless labor, your long hours
and small payment, and smaller esteem.

Better than most of us, you see the value
in our children, you turn from the goods
of a more lucrative life, you weed and trim
the small saplings, knowing (when we forget)
that of these seedlings, great trees are made.

For all this and all that I have left unsaid,
the joy you feel when our children succeed,
the pain you feel when they fail,
the heartache it gives you when we fail them,
the love you bear them in countless small gestures,
for all this and all that I have yet left unsaid,
we their parents thank you.

© John Pyle, 2012

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