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Song of the Builders

As Mary Oliver aptly suggests it we each have a role in building our small corner of the universe.  Certainly, in each of our minds, it is not so small. It is rather grand in its own small way.

It is that small way that speaks to the humbleness we each undertake in being builders of something worthwhile and worth whiling over. It is in the natural world, the world we do not construct we find the great builders like the cricket. We can learn so much from their efforts and their places as we think and are thankful for what we receive each day.

On a summer morning

I sat down

on a hillside

to think about God –

 a worthy pastime.

Near me, I saw

a single cricket;

it was moving the grains of the hillside

 this way and that way.

How great was its energy,

how humble its effort.

Let us hope

  it will always be like this,

each of us going on

in our inexplicable ways

building the universe.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

26 responses »

  1. Interesting! Thank you for sharing so thoughtfully.

  2. An extremely apt message. Humility is not too popular in our day and time of living and it seems is especially noted for its absence in our country. I speak of the news in general not of people specifically.

    • You are so right Marie. I am not sure why humility has fallen by the wayside. It could be the pace of life does not give us a chance to pause and be humble. Perhaps, without role models we do not know what it looks like.

      • I wonder if the reason that we don’t at a societal level pay attention to the accomplishments or leadership of the humble is because we tend to want to attribute success or give money to one person or one organization rather than to the co-creators or collaborators? (Love the Mary Oliver poem by the way.)

      • That is a great question. It is easier to turn the job over to someone else perhaps? I think we have gotten away from community, in many ways, where we would recognize the qualities of our relatives, neighbours, and friends in their humility.

  3. Loved the poem and enjoyed your comments. Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  4. Insightful each of us no matter how small has a part in life.

  5. I’ve always believed humility to be the greatest strength. Love this, going to repost it on my blog.

  6. Reblogged this on Elizabeth's Ramblings and commented:
    Couldn’t agree with this more.

  7. I haven’t commented for ages Ivon, but I just want to let you know that I am an avid supporter of your blog and I read every post and enjoy. As fellow educators, I find us almost uncannily on the same wave length. I doo love Mary Oliver too. Thanks for posting this, it kind of reminds me that my own little efforts are part of the greater scheme of things too 🙂

  8. Reblogged this on Returning to Camissa and commented:
    I am a great supporter of this blog, and I am a lover of the poetry of Mary Oliver, so I would love to share this poem and these thoughts with you.

  9. Reblogged this on through the luminary lens and commented:
    Here is a short post and poem, entitled Song of the Builders, by Ivan Prefontaine. As I am a carpenter, I was first attracted to it in a literal sense. However, I read this beautiful, humble and empowering post 3 times now. In it’s metaphorical sense, let us learn from the cricket, and build up the universe. Thank you Ivan, for the inspiration.

  10. I wonder if crickets keep you awake all night in heaven. Well ifferin they don’t I bet the woodpeckers will.

  11. simply stated and profound…thanks!

  12. Loved the moral of your verses;you are a magnificent builder of virtues !!!


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