Friday, August 30, 2013

Poetry Friday: Linda Pastan

I had a dream last night that I had been kidnapped.  I had managed to escape from the kidnapper, but he was still in the house, and I didn't want him to hear me.  I was sneaking around and being as quiet as I could, but guess who else was there?  In the inexplicable way of dreams, all of my middle school students.  And they wouldn't be quiet.  I was shushing them and explaining in a tearful whisper that our lives were in danger if they wouldn't stop talking.  They were behaving just like they do at the beginning of silent reading every day, except without that glorious moment when everyone finally relaxes into a book and there's that beautiful reading zone hush.  I woke up in a cold sweat.

So that dream pretty much shows you where my mind is these days.  I always forget what a job it is to break in a new batch of seventh graders, and we have changes this year in schedule, resulting in different pacing; it's a better fit, but it just takes time to get used to.  I feel swamped in grading, as though I never get out from under it.  I have no time or mental energy to think a thought.

Someone shared this poem on Poetry Friday a couple of weeks ago, and I've had it open on my desktop ever since.  This is where my writing is now; it's not happening.  In spite of all the other things going on in my brain, I need to, like Linda Pastan, "decide not to stop trying."

Here's her poem:

Rereading Frost

Linda Pastan

Sometimes I think all the best poems
have been written already,
and no one has time to read them,
so why try to write more?

At other times though,
I remember how one flower
in a meadow already full of flowers
somehow adds to the general fireworks effect

as you get to the top of a hill
in Colorado, say, in high summer
and just look down at all that brimming color.

Here's the rest of the poem, including where she decides not to stop trying.

And here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.


GatheringBooks said...

Hi there Ruth, my 11 year old daughter just entered middle school so I can probably sympathize with your dreams (sounds more like a nightmare, really). :) Beautiful poetry. We can never have enough flowers, nor enough poems.

Linda B said...

Oh my, Ruth, what a dream (nightmare?) I do love this poem, as all Linda Pastan's poems are, so thoughtful, and helpful, as it seems to have helped you! I hope things smooth out, and I taught those middle schoolers for years, I know things will. Just takes time! Thanks and best wishes, Ruth!

jama said...

What a troubling nightmare. Always tricky at the beginning until things settle in. Have a great school year, Ruth!

iza said...

Oh the angst of a new school year... May it be a great one! Lovely poem. Thanks!

Doraine said...

Bless you, sweet teacher! I do love this poem. I have not read it before and I relate completely. What a wonderful image--that silvery ping.

BJ Lee said...

Ruth - thanks for posting this poem. I love it! That was quite a dream - nightmare really! I hope your days settle down and you find some time for writing.

Mary Lee said...

I missed this one the first time around. Thanks for re-sharing.

I need that reminder to not stop trying, too.

Sign me
Swamped in Grading (just like you),
Mary Lee

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

I think the only thing that could have made that dream more of a nightmare is if you discovered you were only in your underwear! Hang in there, the routine will fall into place soon... at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Becky Shillington said...

Thank you so much for sharing this poem, Ruth. It brought a lump to my throat--I feel similar to this often. As writers, we all do. It is nice to see that someone else "gets it" too! Hope you are having good dreams again by now! = )

Tabatha said...

Wishing you well as you show a new group of seventh graders the ropes!

Author Amok said...

Hi, Ruth. I just finished reading Divergent. Your post reminded me of the scenes where the main character has to face her fears in a simulated reality. Her best coping mechanism, slowing her heartbeat and breathing down and relaxing. I hope you were able to do the same and enjoy back to school!