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Daily Archives: January 16, 2013

Birdfoot’s Grandpa

A student read this poem today as part of their Language Arts and we discussed the underlying meaning of the poem. It reminded me of a story I heard several years ago. I am unsure whether the story is true, but the underlying idea is one teachers should consider.

A long-time teacher went and sat in a small park next to her school each day during lunch. One day a colleague asked why she spent every lunch break in the park quietly by herself. Her response was “I ask myself whether I want to go back and continue to do what I do. So far, the answer has always been yes.”

Joseph Bruchac’s wonderful poem reminded me of this story. Similar to the toads, each student we come in contact with has places to go to too. It is what should motivate us each day to return to the classrooms we teach in.

The old man
must have stopped our car
two dozen times to climb out
and gather into his hands
the small toads blinded
by our light and leaping,
live drops of rain.

The rain was falling,
a mist about his white hair
and I kept saying
you can’t save them all,
accept it, get back in
we’ve got places to go.

But, leathery hands full
of wet brown life,
knee deep in the summer
roadside grass,
he just smiled and said
they have places to go, too.


To live in the moment and be mindful and present is the greatest gift we can offer each other and our self.

To live in the moment and be mindful and present is the greatest gift we can offer each other and our self.

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When Someone Deeply Listens to You

John Fox wrote this beautiful poem. He is part of an organization called The Institute for Poetic Medicine. When people feel deeply listened to they feel cared for, cradled lovingly, and able to speak their truth. When we listen to each other this it is magical and peaceful. I know I feel wanted.

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your barefeet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.

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