Wednesday, April 23, 2008

the stir


I can feel the stir of daily poems again. I had become dormant, perhaps exhausted, after writing about my grandfather for so many days. Winter came, settled in on our little town, refused to budge. Every day we'd get another inch of sludge, of that brown-wet muck, nothing magical as spring revealed layers of dog mess left behind. I had felt drawn into myself and opted for reading instead--marathon reading sessions snuggled deep into my bed, the thread count so soft, the down blanket caving me in. And I wasn't reading anything wonderful; instead, pulling out volumes from my shelves that wouldn't return to their dusty place, pushing them out (an entire box, gone, after bringing it in to school--just four lonely books left, but most donated to the school library and kids ferreted away the rest--a dozen more such boxes still waiting, warming in the car).

But now, I feel drawn to the page. I have abandoned my pursuit of an empty bookcase, for now, as the urgency from the taker has diminished, and our own house's cleaning focus is shifting from the inside to the out. Instead, I am reading as many books of poetry as I can before I leave this place, in hopes I will have a small anthology, a collection of favorite poems, or very teachable poems to bring in to the college classrooms I will occupy these next three years. (How definitive that is: three years. My poor parents as they watched me hem and haw my way through two hundred or so undergraduate credits when I only needed one hundred twenty.) I know I want to get this down while I can, the immediacy of what it is to be a high school teacher, what it is to look out on them from the other side of things. I no longer feel as if I were fresh-out-of-high-school myself. For a while, it was such a great confusion to me to look at my freshmen and think, "But I was just you..." I thought it was moments ago, not over a decade gone.

I suppose so much of it is about perspective. Over on the poetry blog that I keep with some dear poet-friends, the topic of geography, of place has been raised. I've been thinking a lot about that, about being rooted to the surface of Minnesota. I used to think I could only write about places long after I'd been there--my childhood in Chattanooga, for instance. I think more of that has to do with simply being young; I can write about the life around me now as it is happening because I have the perspective to step back, reflect, create.

I keep thinking of the six and a half weeks I have left here. It's not that long; it seems to grind on forever. I feel a bit plodding, desperate for an escape, a day free of obligation (this past weekend we cleared out the entire garage, moving my classroom's worth of binders and whatnot into the basement and replaced our front storm door--now it has twelve smallish windows, glass removable, and we can let in the spring breeze). My friend Emily pointed this out: Come August, they will be reporting back, and come August, I will be free. That thought lifted something in my chest. It felt good. It felt right.

1 comment:

ck said...

Finally...feeling right. I get that.