I first heard this poem a couple of years ago and late last year, I got myself a new book for my Poetry Library (Happy Birthday to ME!) and I was happily surprised to find it there as well.
This poem is for teachers everywhere, who teach all the amazing things every single day.
What You Missed That Day You Were Absent From Fourth Grade
by Brad Aaron Modlin
Mrs. Nelson explained how to stand still and listen
to the wind, how to find meaning in pumping gas,
how peeling potatoes can be a form of prayer. She took
questions on how not to feel lost in the dark
After lunch she distributed worksheets
that covered ways to remember your grandfather’s
voice. Then the class discussed falling asleep
without feeling you have forgotten to do something else —
something important — and how to believe
the house you wake in is your home. This prompted
Mrs. Nelson to draw a chalkboard diagram detailing
how to chant the Psalms during cigarette breaks,
and how not to squirm for sound when your own thoughts
are all you hear; also, that you have enough.
The English lesson was that I am
is a complete sentence.
And just before the afternoon bell, she made the math equation
look easy. The one that proves that hundreds of questions,
and feeling cold, and all those nights spent looking
for whatever it was you lost, and one person
add up to something.
From Everyone at This Party Has Two Names by Brad Aaron Modlin. Copyright © 2016 by Brad Aaron Modlin. Originally published by Southeast Missouri State University Press.
We (Bonny, Kym, and myself) would love for you to join us and share a poem that you love!
I will see you all back here on Monday!
This is a truly amazing poem, Kat! I am not familiar with the poem or the poet, but I am going to be searching out that book. I’m sorry I was absent from fourth grade that day, but hope to learn some of these important lessons through reading more poetry. Thank you!
What a fabulous poem I love it.
Fabulous Kat!! I’m another who has not heard of this poem or this poet. I’m going to share a link to your post with my friend Leslie who is a poet (and has published some) and whose daughter is a teacher! Thank you.
What a wonderful poem, I love it! I’m sharing this one with my sister and some friends. Thank you so much!
Love this poem! Thanks for sharing.
How wonderful! I think it so perfectly encapsulates the gift that teachers are and how much they have to teach us that is not in the curriculum.
Such a great poem, Kat! XO
beautiful!! I need more poetry in my life 🙂
What a wonderful poem. Thank you for introducing me to a poet I haven’t yet read. Happy Birthday to you. What day is your birthday?
It’s December 27!