the poetry teacher

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

meet the poetry teacher, self absorbed in the aspiring words written by dead poets, eats alone in a silent library knowing that in a few minutes he will be facing a class of students who have no
real interest or investment in words written by a bunch of dead guys. instead, inspired by walt whitman takes an unexpected turn down that road less traveled.

Submitted: August 01, 2018

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Submitted: August 01, 2018



The Poetry Teacher


Simple man, who appreciates the delicate appeal of verse,

As he sits alone in a library reading from John Keats,

An Englishman who so briefly touched the grace of God

Before God came calling to take the young man home.

Nightingale of wonder, your beauty is now eternal

As the Greek vase that still sits collecting dust on the shelf.

Coleridge’s Kubla Khan which remains unfinished as a dream,

A dream that has taken him far from his native shores,

On a journey you yourself have taken so many times

When you open up these musty books.


Who will be tomorrow’s poets?

Who will raise their voices high

In the face of oppression

In the time of doubt and fear,

Words will not comfort a crying child,

Words will not sooth hate and fear,

Words will not change men’s hearts and minds,

Words won’t really make a difference,

Their words did not stop the earth,

Their words do not shape our future,

There is an echo in an empty well,

And the echo’s voice is mine,

I stand up and cheer on the soldiers

As they ride into the valley of death,

Though my bravado is merely a whisper

So as not to break the library’s rules.


Poetry teacher has a sack lunch he lays out on the table before him.

Today is Frost tomorrow is Tennyson, which road will he take today,

When his lunch is over and he neatly folds the bag placing it thoughtfully in the trash,

Just like he always does every day when he comes in to read the masters,

Their words wash over him like a soothing message in his soul,

That longs for adventure like the twenty years in the Ageian

He is looking to get lost again.  


This afternoon is his freshman class,

Still looking for answers to questions,

None of these stale verses will answer,

But he let’s them ask anyway,

Can I go to the bathroom

As the heartbeat of Iambic pentameter

Rolls so skillfully off his tongue

Philistine your heritage

Ignorance your crime

Guilty, guilty, guilty,

But there’s no one to convict you,

Scoundrel, you who’d paint

A mustache on the Statue David

Never knowing David’s  place to stand

Or the courage to use what’s in his hand.


And when the final bell sounds, he sits and stares at the late afternoon sun,

Sighing, the poetry teacher recites from Whitman about the body electric

And how Walt  used to run through the woods dressed in only what God had given him at birth,

And he sees himself in that very wood, where the two roads converged,

Singing the tunes of himself as his clothes scatter in a blur of movement,

His naked feet now caressed by the cool grass, the air rushing into his lungs,

The sweet perfume, the sound of wind rising up to meet him,

As he finally makes the connection,

he finally comprehends and with it all as becomes part of the conversation.


© Copyright 2018 George Frost. All rights reserved.