Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

I’m spending this week w/ the most wonderful professionals in the world: teachers. Yep. Teachers.

We get a bad rap these days.  But nowhere will you find men & women more committed to the future of America: our kids. Who else will work 60+ hours a week (yes; they really do) to make sure every child’s work is evaluated, and his or her abilities understood and considered in the next week’s lessons? Who else deals with body fluids, hormones, the results of negligent (to dangerously ignorant) parenting, the chaos of creativity, and the fall-out of both physical & emotional injuries? Who else cares so deeply they get cranky?

So today’s poem is in honour of the many teachers I know, admire, and love. Here’s another favourite poet — Canadian Margaret Atwood — with her poem ‘You Begin’:

You Begin

You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only
the colors of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.

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