Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Poetry Bus Goes to School


Here we are at the Poetry Bus again (what, does this bus come around every week?). The lovely Karen, who apparently values education, is the driver & is planning quite a trip. Please go to her blog here to check out the other bus riders – there are already some great poems out there.

Her prompt this week was very simple: write a poem about school or schooling. Well, I have certainly had my share of school. This poem is about a paper I had to write in seminary.

Old Testament Therapy

I wailed my way
through that paper.
I covered the floor
with notes and books
and discarded pages
and tears.
Heart and soul -
if not mind -
went into those words.
At the end I felt
empty and victorious.

Dr. Ballentine
gave me a C.
We both knew that
what I had written
was catharsis
and not academia.
And that was fine.
Because a small chunk
of my dear battered self
swam free in those tears.


P.S. If you read "beer battered self" the first time, you are not alone. That's what I saw myself when I first read it through. And now I'm hungry! But disturbed…

22 comments:

  1. I stopped at Mr. Ballentine. Isn`t it Ballentine`s Whiskey?
    Anyway, may he be a good teacher or a thirsty one, your poem is very beautiful and true. Sometimes these assignments we get do not matter much for our grades but make us dig deep into our selves. I remember such papers, too.
    Cheers to you, dear Dana!

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  2. "No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."
    Well cried. Well written.

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  3. Even so... a C? I ask you! A*, more like.

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  4. Well told (and worth every tear, I am sure).

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  5. Beautiful, and intricately descriptive piece, Dana. And I can completely relate.

    P.S. I did read it, at first glance, as "beer battered self". Then I re-read and found the real meaning. Ha! Hungry but disturbed...a perfect summation of us all if ever I heard one :D

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  6. Great poem and interesting conclusion that gives me much thought as to how I write poetry.Now that doesn't happen often!!

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  7. As long as something was gained! I love the ending.

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  8. Oh to care so much about something!! The C is irrelevant...

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  9. I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

    God Bless You ~Ron

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  10. Reminded of Tolstoy: "One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of ones flesh in the ink-pot each time one dips one's pen." I liked

    We both knew that
    what I had written
    was catharsis
    and not academia.

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  11. lol.. beer batter!
    Really like this poem. It must be nice to be given an assignment which grabs you that deeply. you must have been a bit gutted at the C though?

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  12. Confess I don't always like your poems but this one is wonderful, subtle and understated. I like the way you capture the idea that often what you learn from an experience is not what the teacher intended.
    thanks for sharing
    cfm

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  13. So glad I don't have to write a paper to be graded. Loved your tale.

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  14. Whatever we've learned about ourselves, often earns us the highest grades....eventually. Great poem.

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  15. Apparently he gave you a "C" for "Catharsis" - which is worth more than any grade anyway. Nice!

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  16. ha. some days i was happy to just get a c and be done with it...i had a beastly criminology teacher...all essay test....blech

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  17. "I wailed my way through that paper" is a magnificent first line, Dana. Beautiful work, my friend.

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  18. there is much weeping and gnashing of teeth when I get a C on something too.

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  19. Good one. The grade isn't always representative of the depths the student has gone within to find the key to what makes him/her tick.

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  20. Dear The Bug,
    There's a lot of rightness in this poem. And fairness. As well as the memory of strong emotions.

    Good work, then and now,
    Ann T.

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  21. I've wailed through the odd paper or two - usually becuase it's due in the morning and I've done no work on it though :-)

    I'm not sure I've ever done anything quite so passionate but passions is a good thing and your poem is a good thing too - especially the image at the end.

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  22. A sensitive teacher might have at least furnished you with two grades, the one, the A - acknowledging passion and emotional commitment. But there you go - product not process as ever!

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Thanks for stopping by - I'd love to hear what you have to say!