School Teacher to Her Students

Day 16 of National Poetry Month.

Here's another one from November 2015. This one feels more true than ever. Much love to all my former students, but especially those reading this. 

School Teacher to Her Students
By Edith Hope Bishop, November 2015

Now that you’re gone and I’m resigned,
I have a few things to say to you
that weren’t appropriate
when I stood in front of you
in an official capacity.
First of all: we are separated,
you and me, by much more than
age and life circumstances.
We are separated by the
assumption that I (once) had answers
and that you (in your youth) had questions.
This is false.
My experience
tells me that Adolescents
(as opposed to 4-year-olds)
have far fewer questions than
the Adults in their lives
would like them to have.
Young people do, however,
have Desires, Needs, and Fears.
Surely, if there was a question you would have asked naturally,
it was "When?".
No, I had most of the questions:
Won’t you save us?
Will you be careful with your sweet young body?
Could this matter to you?
Have you stopped to consider the moon?
Having asked them,
I’m less certain now.
With every year that passes,
there is less I know,
less I would pass on,
Except this, maybe:
A Poem.
The moon on a cloudless autumn night,
a sliver of honest light.


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