Teacher

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From “Inferno” by Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri
canto iv

A hard thunder broke my sleep.
As if roused by a god,

I stood straight up;
my rested eyes moved about,

seeking acquaintance
with place.

I found myself
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On Teaching by Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran
Then said a teacher, Speak to us of Teach-
ing.
And he said:
No man can reveal to you aught but that
which already lies half asleep in the dawn-
ing of your knowledge.
The teacher who walks in the shadow of
the temple, among his followers, gives not
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The Dance in Jinotega by Grace Paley
Grace Paley
In Jinotega women greeted us
with thousands of flowers roses
it was hard to tell the petals
on our faces and arms falling

then embraces and the Spanish language
which is a little like a descent of
petals pink and orange

Suddenly out of the hallway our
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And Now She Has Disappeared in Water by Diane Wakoski
Diane Wakoski
For Marilyn who died in January april 1
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Sorrow Gondola No. 2 by Tomas Tranströmer
Tomas Tranströmer
I
Two old men, father-and son-in-law, Liszt and Wagner, are staying by the Grand Canal
together with the restless woman who is married to King Midas,
he who changes everything he touches to Wagner.
The ocean's green cold pushes up through the palazzo floors.
Wagner is marked, his famous Punchinello profile looks more tired than before,
his face a white flag.
The gondola is heavy-laden with their lives, two round trips and a one-way.
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One Train May Hide Another by Kenneth Koch
Kenneth Koch
(sign at a railroad crossing in Kenya) In a poem, one line may hide another line,
As at a crossing, one train may hide another train.
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Axe Handles by Gary Snyder
Gary Snyder
One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
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Passing Rez School the Day before Thanksgiving Day, Unoriginal Sin and a Redskin Pilgrim’s Retrogression by Ralph Salisbury
Ralph Salisbury
Footpath passing a school,

undiscovered by a nun
black at her blackboard’s explanation
of Vanishing Americans’ vanishing, I find myself

flagged, by two not quite red rows,
unfurled into grin, two white, and by one
five-pointed, pale star.

My lips let my teeth pledge allegiance,
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from The Seasons: Winter by James Thomson
James Thomson
See, Winter comes to rule the varied year,
Sullen and sad, with all his rising train—
Vapours, and clouds, and storms. Be these my theme,
These, that exalt the soul to solemn thought
And heavenly musing. Welcome, kindred glooms!
Congenial horrors, hail! With frequent foot,
Pleas’d have I, in my cheerful morn of life,
When nurs’d by careless solitude I liv’d
And sung of Nature with unceasing joy,
Pleas’d have I wander’d through your rough domain;
Trod the pure virgin-snows, myself as pure;
Heard the winds roar, and the big torrent burst;
Or seen the deep-fermenting tempest brew’d
In the grim evening-sky. Thus pass’d the time,
Till through the lucid chambers of the south
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from Oracles for Youth by Caroline Gilman
Caroline Gilman
Directions

Let some one hold the book, and ask one of the questions. The answers being all numbered, the girl or boy who is questioned chooses a number, and the person who holds the book reads the answer to which that number belongs, aloud. For instance:

Question. What is your character?
Answer. I choose No. 3

Questioner reads aloud:

No. 3. Gentle tempered, sweet and kind,
To no angry word inclined.

What Will Be Your Destiny?
FORTY-THREE ANSWERS

1. Just as you think you’ve gained great wealth,
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Emily Sparks by Edgar Lee Masters
Edgar Lee Masters
Where is my boy, my boy—
In what far part of the world?
The boy I loved best of all in the school?—
I, the teacher, the old maid, the virgin heart,
Who made them all my children.
Did I know my boy aright,
Thinking of him as spirit aflame,
Active, ever aspiring?
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Of History and Hope by Miller Williams
Miller Williams
We have memorized America,
how it was born and who we have been and where.
In ceremonies and silence we say the words,
telling the stories, singing the old songs.
We like the places they take us. Mostly we do.
The great and all the anonymous dead are there.
We know the sound of all the sounds we brought.
The rich taste of it is on our tongues.
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The Revisionist Dream by Maxine Kumin
Maxine Kumin
Well, she didn't kill herself that afternoon.
It was a mild day in October, we sat outside
over sandwiches. She said she had begun

to practice yoga, take piano lessons,
rewrite her drama rife with lust and pride
and so she didn't kill herself that afternoon,

hugged me, went home, cranked the garage doors open,
scuffed through the garish leaves, orange and red,
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Mary's Lamb by Sarah Josepha Hale
Sarah Josepha Hale

Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow,
And every where that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go;
He followed her to school one day —
That was against the rule,
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school.

And so the Teacher turned him out,
But still he lingered near,
And waited patiently about,
Till Mary did appear.
And then he ran to her and laid
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Paradise Lost: Book 11 (1674 version) by John Milton
John Milton
Thus they in lowliest plight repentant stood
Praying, for from the Mercie-seat above
Prevenient Grace descending had remov'd
The stonie from thir hearts, & made new flesh
Regenerate grow instead, that sighs now breath'd
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer
Inspir'd, and wing'd for Heav'n with speedier flight
Then loudest Oratorie: yet thir port
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Seeing the Eclipse in Maine by Robert Bly
Robert Bly
It started about noon. On top of Mount Batte,
We were all exclaiming. Someone had a cardboard
And a pin, and we all cried out when the sun
Appeared in tiny form on the notebook cover.

It was hard to believe. The high school teacher
We’d met called it a pinhole camera,
People in the Renaissance loved to do that.
And when the moon had passed partly through
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Chattanooga by Ishmael Reed
Ishmael Reed
1

Some say that Chattanooga is the
Old name for Lookout Mountain
To others it is an uncouth name
Used only by the uncivilised
Our a-historical period sees it
As merely a town in Tennessee
To old timers of the Volunteer State
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Napoleon by Miroslav Holub
Miroslav Holub
Children, when was
Napoleon Bonaparte born,
asks teacher.

A thousand years ago, the children say.
A hundred years ago, the children say.
Last year, the children say.
No one knows.

Children, what did
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Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman
1
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.

Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.

The earth, that is sufficient,
I do not want the constellations any nearer,
I know they are very well where they are,
I know they suffice for those who belong to them.

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Thanking My Mother for Piano Lessons by Diane Wakoski
Diane Wakoski
The relief of putting your fingers on the keyboard,
as if you were walking on the beach
and found a diamond
as big as a shoe;

as if
you had just built a wooden table
and the smell of sawdust was in the air,
your hands dry and woody;
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The Tongues We Speak by Patricia Goedicke
Patricia Goedicke
I have arrived here after taking many steps
Over the kitchen floors of friends and through their lives.

The dun-colored hills have been good to me
And the gold rivers.

I have loved chrysantheumums, and children:
I have been grandmother to some.

In one pocket I have hidden chocolates from you
And knives.
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A Vision of Poesy by Henry Timrod
Henry Timrod
PART I

I
In a far country, and a distant age,
Ere sprites and fays had bade farewell to earth,
A boy was born of humble parentage;
The stars that shone upon his lonely birth
Did seem to promise sovereignty and fame—
Yet no tradition hath preserved his name.

II
’T is said that on the night when he was born,
A beauteous shape swept slowly through the room;
Its eyes broke on the infant like a morn,
And his cheek brightened like a rose in bloom;
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An Essay on Man: Epistle I by Alexander Pope
Alexander Pope
To Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke Awake, my St. John! leave all meaner things
To low ambition, and the pride of kings.
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Frost at Midnight by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Frost performs its secret ministry,
Unhelped by any wind. The owlet's cry
Came loud—and hark, again! loud as before.
The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
'Tis calm indeed! so calm, that it disturbs
And vexes meditation with its strange
And extreme silentness. Sea, hill, and wood,
This populous village! Sea, and hill, and wood,
With all the numberless goings-on of life,
Inaudible as dreams! the thin blue flame
Lies on my low-burnt fire, and quivers not;
Only that film, which fluttered on the grate,
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Grace by John Logan
John Logan
We suffer from the repression of the sublime.
—Roberto Assagioli This artist’s sculptured, open box of mahogany
(ivory white inside) is strung
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The Life of Lincoln West by Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks
Ugliest little boy
that everyone ever saw.
That is what everyone said.

Even to his mother it was apparent—
when the blue-aproned nurse came into the
northeast end of the maternity ward
bearing his squeals and plump bottom
looped up in a scant receiving blanket,
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"Mary had a little lamb," by Sarah Josepha Hale
Sarah Josepha Hale
Mary had a little lamb,
Its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.

It followed her to school one day,
Which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play
To see a lamb at school.
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Report to Crazy Horse by William E. Stafford
William E. Stafford
All the Sioux were defeated. Our clan
got poor, but a few got richer.
They fought two wars. I did not
take part. No one remembers your vision
or even your real name. Now
the children go to town and like
loud music. I married a Christian.

Crazy Horse, it is not fair
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The Tables Turned by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

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A Momentary Longing to Hear Sad Advice from One Long Dead by Kenneth Koch
Kenneth Koch
Who was my teacher at Harvard. Did not wear overcoat
Saying to me as we walked across the Yard
Cold brittle autumn is you should be wearing overcoat. I said
You are not wearing overcoat. He said,
You should do as I say not do as I do.
Just how American it was and how late Forties it was
Delmore, but not I, was probably aware. He quoted Finnegans Wake to me
In his New York apartment sitting on chair
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