Teachers Act Up!

Thoughts on Teaching, Language, and Social Change from Melisa "Misha" Cahnmann-Taylor

January 20, 2017

“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take “everyone on Earth” to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale”

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Estes’ writing gives me more hope than my own, but I feel this poem draft gives room for my sadness to breathe and is a “calm thing that one soul can do.”  W.C. Williams wrote:

“It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.”

And this morning, I read Williams’ poems and wrote.

Eight a.m., January 20, 2017, Arlington, Virginia [new draft]


Gauzy curtain, through transom glass,

mailboxes on crotchety legs,


curbed, trash-can rule breakers,

burdened electric wire sag,


persistent squirrel squeak

beneath higher than thou branches,


white-breasted nuthatches squalk,

din about dim, misplaced spring, orange


cloud-gashes, a blaring bandstand day, tumbled

like pebbles of grief-stricken sky.

One response to “January 20, 2017

  1. Marie Goocher January 20, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    This a beautiful poem, worth posting in my office, and one of the easiest reads of Clarissa Pinkola Estes for me. I had a dictionary next to me while reading Wolves and had to look up about twenty words per page. As a teacher, I am reminded that helping one child at a time is my sacred duty and pleasure. Thank you for sharing with us on this historic day.

    Liked by 1 person

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