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Greg McVerry

Teaching in a Time of Crisis: A #poetryport poem for @telliowkuwp

When my name got drawn for Terry's poem, I will fully admit my intimidation. Terry is the poet I strive to be. He lays meaning on the mundane.

Can describe lif in a few words about something on the farm. Each color he sings, each sound he paints, plays a part in a grand opera in only a few lines of verse.

I was asked to write about teaching in a "time of existential crisis" when people are tired of messages of hope and change. When you know thought and prayer do not stop bullets, when you the planet is melting, when you know racism is used as a path to power.

When you want to say, "WTF, and give up." See that is a sentiment common to all teachers regardless of the politics of the day. Morose is contagious.

So is hope, but it spreads way quicker with action.


Fat congeals
as meager scraps
sit, fork scraping
against time

Hope never fills
anyone's plate
no change to alter

Empty calories
of broken promises
kept me starved
in galleys of
of thoughtless hunger

My fork scrapes
my plate
and my destiny
is done
When he
unleashed tyranny
a conspiracy
promises to rid
the toxicity of
of brown and black kids
Tectonics in me shifted
teaching no longer

So as the carcass
cools on my forgotten dinner
     the road
 draws dimmer
choruses of hate
fill from every corner

Hope never fills
anyone's plate
no change to alter

Our Nation a
crisis of flightless bird
cast in times
when children aren't heard
The Eagle clipped

It burns

I am an
active feeling
yet my
road worsens
Searches for Kierkegaard's
meaning are
fleeting. Desires
of unlit fires
  something must
      be done
Am I the one?
Just a teacher
    eating alone
rooms dimmed, doors
  existence of
lost essence

Presence of
crisis as the
demagogue rises

Hope never fills
anyone's plate
no change to alter

Can I exist?
hang a fist?
encounter the
self to surge
upon the world?

Or will efforts falter
sliding from plate to
hate won, time let lose?

A mooring broken
teachers past a
token to dreams
not deffered
but confinded
a cage bird muzzled
has no song
Growth tusseled
The Eagle clipped

Children locked in
prisons. Politicians
wishing for a land great again
DusK of Darkness
or hates new dawning
Angst grow bigger
Children cast as nothing more
than little nibblers
on the dole
taking a toll bighting at the edges of

true givers

Yet if Sarte
can find Heidegger
behind barbed walls
King pens truth in Birmingham
Can I ensure
democracy doesn't fall?

For I am a teacher

Hope never fills
anyone's plate
no change to alter

Teachers are catalyst
of growth
I it is more than not eating alone
I musn't invite to my table But seek out those
who will let me listen
those already free
can never understand the ring of the shackle

Choice made, I rise from the table,
scrape sinew into the refuse
Close the light, and get to work

Also on /en/poetry.


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