Charting My Course


somewhere in the unknown world
a yellow eyed woman
sits with her daughter

some other where
alchemists mumble over pots.
their chemistry stirs
into science. their science
freezes into stone.

in the unknown world
the woman
threading together her need
and her needle
nods toward the smiling girl
this will keep us warm.

how does the poem end?
do the daughters’ daughters quilt?
do the alchemists practice their tables?
do the world’s continue spinning
away from each other forever?

— Lucille Clifton


So after that somewhat plaintive cry yesterday, I’m feeling like I should chart the course of my class week.  Today was the kind of day that would make me write yesterday’s post.  I had my difficult group with all their challenges.  But I also had the addition of a new student, an older man who was clearly not happy to find himself in a GED class and not already standing with his GED diploma in his hand.  He couldn’t make himself be interested in any of the work we were doing, couldn’t get the scowl off of his face.  Our two support counselors came in to give a workshop, and he was even less happy to be a part of that.  In the end, he engaged … but in a way that was moving toward anger.  The counselors handled the situation beautifully, but I was left feeling out of sorts.  I wanted to talk to him after class, but he took off the moment class ended.  I was calling his name, and he was already down the hall and on the stairs.  I’ll be shocked if he comes back tomorrow.

Not off to the best of starts this week.  Tomorrow’s math.  Here’s hoping I can infuse some of my math enthusiasm into the room …

I am holding in
my breath, my tongue, all my anger —
or most of it — I cannot win
this particular
struggle.              But this is a pot I will stir
and stir again, turn and keep turning,
forgetting, forgetting … and then relearning.

Ok, so it’s pretty up and down with the rhyme royals.  I am feeling more comfortable with the form, now we’re just solidly in trying-to-make-something-out-of-(next-to)-nothing territory.


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