Saturday, June 2, 2012

First Week

To hell with the classroom
(False walls and fluorescent lights)
To hell with the rules that cut us off 

I took them to Avalon
we closed our eyes
starting with a breath
the wind
the sound of woodpeckers
the sound of our invasion

I took them to Caumsett
Jess held up her totem painting
the turtle
bikinis and red rock
Tom spoke of his journey to
the rainforest in Brazil and

we sat in a circle on rocks
spoke of ocean acidification
the dying coral reef
the abundance of red jellyfish

we spoke of earthfirst!
putting nature on equal
footing with humans

we spoke of the rape of the land
we spoke of the rape of women
we spoke of capitalism and profit

we listened to Mary Oliver
the despair of Wendell Berry
the blue horses of Luci Topahonso
the birth of the baby of Dine
and chamisa

we spoke of losses
of what nature is and is not
we held paints and pens and
colored pencils
empty books

I noticed each student drew trees

It was a hot hot day
Maurice helped me put on my
shoe I was so tired
the kind of love you
can feel when a lotus flower

All of us gasped at the wonder
of the beautiful world of this classroom
of grass and stone
the opportunity of coming together
strangers for the first time
to speak the truth
to learn about climate change
to learn about nuclear radiation
to talk about the language of satire
hybrids and hyenas
monsanto and monocropping
to hold hands as we felt
explosions of shale
explosions of mountaintop
explosions of souls and skin
smashing atoms, as Maurice calls it

Shavon said: it's a wonder
already we feel like family

In these teaching moments
I feel hope
hope for the earth
hope for the children of tomorrow


Nancy Hamilton Sturm said...

Beautifully written! As a (retired) teacher, I can totally relate to this. Thanks for sharing.

.Ecofeminist and Mothering Ruminations said...

Thank you so much, Nancy Strum.

Anonymous said...

Truly beautiful, honest words of hope in transformative times. Thank you for being strong enough to write them...