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Life on the Deckle Edge

Poetry Friday: 1800s Teacher Humor for Mary Lee!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers - Happy to pop back in during a crazy-busy month to celebrate our wonderful, talented, generous, tenacious Mary Lee Hahn!

 

Congratulations on your retirement from teaching, Mary Lee.  Can't wait to learn of your next adventures.

 

When you become a bit wistful about the classroom, perhaps the following poem will be good medicine.  I found it in one of my old favorites in my studio, CROWN JEWELS – OR GEMS OF LITERATURE, ART AND MUSIC … (and the rest of the title is about three miles long.)  This particular volume hails from 1887, compiled by Henry Davenport Northrop, D.D., and published by L. P. Miller & Co. (Chicago and Philadelphia).

 

No author is credited with this poem; if anyone knows who wrote it, let me know and I'll give credit where credit's due, a century and a quarter-plus later!

 

 

          TEACHING PUBLIC SCHOOL

 

Forty little urchins,

          Coming through the door,

Pushing, crowding, making

          A tremendous roar.

          Why don't you keep quiet?

       Can't you keep the rule? –

Bless me, this is pleasant,

          Teaching public school!

 

Forty little pilgrims

          On the road to fame;

If they fail to reach it,

          Who will be to blame?

High and lowly stations –

          Birds of every feather –

On a common level

          Here are brought together.

 

Dirty little faces,

          Loving little hearts,

Eyes brimful of mischief,

          Skilled in all its arts.

That's a precious darling!

          What are you about?

"May I pass the water?"

          "Please, may I go out?"

 

Boots and shoes are shuffling,

          Slates and books are rattling,

and in a corner yonder

          Two pugilists are battling:

Others cutting didos –

          What a botheration!

No wonder we grow crusty

          From such association!

 

Anxious parent drops in,

          Merely to inquire

Why his olive branches

          Do not shoot up higher;

Says he wants his children

          To mind their p's and q's,

And hopes their brilliant talents

          Will not be abused.

 

Spelling, reading, writing,

          Putting up the young ones;

Fuming, scolding, fighting,

          Spurring on the dumb ones;

Gymnasts, vocal music –

          How the heart rejoices

When the singer comes to

          Cultivate the voices!

 

Institute attending,

          Making our reports,

Giving object lessons,

          Class drill of all sorts;

Reading dissertations,

          Feeling like a fool –

Oh, the untold blessing

          Of the public school!

 

 

Dedicating this find of a poem to Mary Lee and to all the teachers out there, especially after THIS surreal and challenging year!  Kind of heartening to know teaching ancestors were going through some of the same things, isn't it? 

 

And a tip of the hat to my third-grade-teacher-daughter Morgan, as today is the last day of class for her students this year.  Whew!

 

One more tidbit for Mary Lee, again without attribution, but tucked into JEWELS FOR THE HOUSEHOLD; SELECTIONS OF THOUGHT AND ANECDOTE, FOR FAMILY READING by Tryon Edwards, D. D. (Hartford:  Case, Lockwood & Co., 1866).

 

          CHEERFULNESS AND WISDOM

 

So I saw that despondency was death, and flung my burden from me,

and, lightened by that effort, I was raised above the world:

Yea, in the strangeness of my vision, I seemed to soar on wings,

And the names they gave my wings were cheerfulness and wisdom.

 

Soar on, Mary Lee! #MarvelousMaryLee #PoemsforMaryLee

 

This week's Roundup is hosted by the lovely Christie at Wondering and Wandering, where you can find out more about the Mary Lee poetry celebration, and other Poetry Friday posts, too.

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Poetry Friday - Two more Poem Postcards celebrating all things NEW!

 

Greetings, Poetry Lovers!

 

Two more New Year Poem Postcard swap goodies came my way this week.  These haiku are a PERFECT way to express and celebrate our country's turning the page to a new chapter this week.

 

First up, Margaret gifted the beyond-glorious photo of a blue heron in flight, with these words:

 

 

On wingbeats of blue

heron rises unstatued

heralding the new

 

Image and poem ©Margaret Simon

 

Heralding the new, indeed! 

 

And then came Mary Lee's wonderful offering.  I have to add that it was postmarked the day after Christmas, and it JUST got to my mailbox on Thursday.  [I'd say I can't believe it took that long, but after many headaches worrying about Etsy orders getting to recipients on time in December (a few just plain didn't), I do believe it.  The USPS was stretched far too thin.  Here's hoping we all might be finished with quarantining and such by the time the holidays arrive THIS year.]

 

Mary Lee's words were worth the wait, and just right for this week in history:

 

 

recently minted

shiny coin of here and now

ready to be spent 

 

(and who doesn't live Rembrandt?!)

 

Image and poem ©Mary Lee Hahn

 

 

For more of Margaret's writing, click here; for more of Mary Lee's writing, click here; and to learn more about the creative pursuits of Jone Rush MacCulloch, who dreamed up the New Year's Postcard exchange, click here

 

Thanks to each of these amazing women.

 

By the way, I noticed Margaret added a handwritten note to her card, and Mary Lee's poem was handwritten, as was the poem I sent out on my cards this month. Did you know tomorrow, Jan. 23, is National Handwriting Day?  I'll be celebrating at artsyletters with earrings featuring sterling silver fountain pen charms that I fell in love with.  I made a pair to 'test drive' and have been wearing them all week. (Also, earrings with vintage pen nibs coming soon....) ;0)

 

Tomorrow is also the birthday of an amazing teacher who regularly brings poetry to life in the classroom - my daughter, Morgan!  Happy Birthday to our Super Hero!

 

Now, one more click to check out this week's Roundup - you'll find it at Laura Shovan's place, where there is always something new and wonderful going on. 

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Poetry Friday - Post Card Exchange Part Two :0)


Happy Poetry Friday!

I'm delighted to share the final three postcards I received in our wonderful January Postcard Exchange organized by the ever-generous Jone.

The first two came sauntering in with their caramel-colored cards and entertaining animals, bringing smiles I do not take for granted this month.

Many thanks to Penny for this fun poetic diversion (you can see the properly centered formatting in the picture.):


Dr. Goat

If my doctor were a goat
and if I had a sore throat
he'd ask if I would open wide
so he could take a look inside.

And, yes, of course I'd open wide
so he could take a look inside.

But if my doctor were a goat
looking down my sore throat
I definitely could not say, "AAAAAHHHH!"
Cause Dr. Goat deserves a "BBAAAAHHHH!"


©Penny Parker Klostermann. All rights reserved.


Penny shared the backstory on the reverse of the card: "Your postcard was inspired by one of my childhood picture books. I snapped a photo of a page and wrote my poem based on that. Enjoy!" I did! Thanks, Penny. Makes me miss the goats we used to have when we lived on a little farm.

The next two were haiku, as I enjoyed in the first two cards posted last week.

The text on the back of Mary Lee's adorable kitty picture reads:


desire
just our of reach
whiskers twitch


©Mary Lee Hahn. All rights reserved.


Ha! This one made me fondly remember my childhood cat, a "cameo" Persian with the same color coat as the mischievous meow-er in this photo. He was named O'Malley (Yes, after The Aristocats!) Many thanks, Mary Lee!

My last mailbox treasure was from Ramona, whose poem graces that beautiful snow scene above:


A snowy sabbath
A new year's soft beginning
Wintry white frosting


©Ramona Behnke. All rights reserved.


"No snow in a very long time in my part of the world," she wrote, "so this dusting of snow on New Year's Day was a special treat!"

Ramona also tucked in printed copies of the poems read at both of President Obama's inaugurations. I probably hadn't read or heard them since those occasions, and it was comforting to revisit the words. You can find Elizabeth Alexander's 2009 poem and Richard Blanco's 2013 poem at www.poets.org . Thank you, Ramona, for your lovely poem as well as these.

Borrowing from each of those inauguration poems (in order), I wish you a "Praise song for every hand-lettered sign, the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables" and "the unexpected songbird on your clothes line."

For more unexpected and welcome delights, visit Carol this week at Beyond Literacy Link. She always has wonderful surprises.
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