What We Wait For, a poem for a 1/2/3 Grade class in 2005 (inspired by Billy Collins' poem Aristotle)
This is the beginning.
The "when they come in" part of the day.
My nervous feelings,
before I know who is
who, or who rides what bus.
This is before I know that Kayson
is a writer or that Scott knows
sign language because e his sister
is deaf. These are things
I don't know in the beginning.
Our butterflies hatch
in the beginning, like all
of us, hatching into first, second,
and third grade students with
a new teacher. To begin with,
I see Marie is beautiful and
kind; Taylor is helpful; Shelby
is a good friend; Morgan
doesn't think she can do it,
but she can, and she does.
In the beginning, I see
Andrea's lovely red hair and
the way Lyle's eyes light up
when he smiles at us. The
beginning is when I see potential
in all students, but I don't know
just how much Christopher reads,
or how kind Ransom is. The beginning
is the blank paper, before
all the stories are written; the
blank art page about to
be illustrated. In the beginning
is Curtis and his dove calls;
Olivia and her chicken stories.
This is the middle.
My comfortable feelings. In our
class, we learn that Joseph is
a good detective, Kyle (the runner) uses
his energy for good (he never
runs when he's not supposed to), and
HannaH has a puppy. We love to see
him grow, like us.
Our trout, and salmon.
Chapter books, and Lacey answering the
question, "Do you think you're a good reader?"
with, "Of course I do!" The middle
is taking a state test.
This is the part where we feel
sad, when Hailey has to leave us,
and happy when Faith joins us,
bringing her goodness to our room.
When Jaedyn moves away,
Phillip comes with so many good
qualities to add to our class.
The middle is Jake bringing his
and a planter for our Christmas
Cactus. Rayne moves, but writes
us beautiful letters from Blodgett.
Janae brings her lovely smile in
the middle. Michaela too, adds
sparkle to our room. In the middle is
the mystery of McKenzie's lunch,
with a candle in it.
This is the end. Kyle the
reader joins us here, and we're
glad. The end is Ryan reading
fabulously and Cailey asking
to write a book for us. This
is when Jasmine came to us, finally
after we'd waited so long for
her beautiful artwork. The end
is Sam writing a page for Ms. Landry's
book without anyone's help. It is
Josh leaving us in Jefferson, even
though he will take a part of us
with him, wherever he goes. It
is Tori's choose-your-own-adventure
book. It has a happy ending.
The end is a green pen for growth. The end is knowing why gravity
holds us down to earth and also where
Earth is in the planetary line up.
It's knowing how lightning forms.
In the end, we know this is what we
wait for--knowing each other so
well that a look says all we need
to speak, with all the love we need
to give, all wrapped up inside.