The AP English tests are over! I can finally put my bottle of Pepto away…until next Spring. This afternoon, I get to read letters — what can I say? I love to get mail! My AP students wrote me letters to explain how the test went and how they felt about this year. And let me tell you, these letters are so life-giving to me! Some are serious, some are playful — most are well-written 😉 which I like to think I had a hand in that.
I told you I was cluttery…my desk speaks for itself, right? I plan to clean it up, eventually. Now that I have no more AP essays to grade, you know what I did? I assigned my other classes giant essays! HA! The pain is my pleasure I suppose. Anyway, the end of the school year is upon us, and my sentiments are bittersweet. I have truly enjoyed my teaching schedule, my students, and my curriculum this year; and it will be sad for that to come to an end. On the other hand, summer (no explanation needed, right?).
I keep listening to a certain song on repeat, and it makes my sad eyes happier I suppose. I read a poem to one of my classes that I’d like to share with you, dear reader. Sometimes all we can offer is words. This poem is just that. Before I read them the poem, I asked my students to ponder this: “suppose someone says to you, ‘I have nothing to give you — except love.’ How would you feel? Is love enough?” Some said yes, others no — I read the poem and played the Beatles for them (if they don’t hear it from me, who’s going to teach them about great music? 😉 ).
Here’s the poem:
I Am Offering this Poem
By Jimmy Santiago Baca
I am offering this poem to you,
since I have nothing else to give.
Keep it like a warm coat
when winter comes to cover you,
or like a pair of thick socks
the cold cannot bite through,
I love you,
I have nothing else to give you,
so it is a pot full of yellow corn
to warm your belly in winter,
it is a scarf for your head, to wear
over your hair, to tie up around your face,
I love you,
Keep it, treasure this as you would
if you were lost, needing direction,
in the wilderness life becomes when mature;
and in the corner of your drawer,
tucked away like a cabin or hogan
in dense trees, come knocking,
and I will answer, give you directions,
and let you warm yourself by this fire,
rest by this fire, and make you feel safe
I love you,
It’s all I have to give,
and all anyone needs to live,
and to go on living inside,
when the world outside
no longer cares if you live or die;
I love you.
After we read the poem, we made a list of the similes for the speaker’s love. The class discovered that the similes reflect comfort, warmth, provision, security, and safety. The speaker’s love does all of those things in just words. Perhaps having all those luxuries: “coats,” “socks,” “corn,” “a cabin,” a warm “fire” are meaningless without love. Perhaps, as the John Lennon suggested: “All you need is love.”
My favorite part of the song is the very end…when it sounds like three different songs are playing at once and then softly “she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah” is heard as the song fades out — every time I listen to it, I just close my eyes and smile — I really love that part for one reason or another.
There’s always more to say… but this is a good place to stop for today.
Until next time,