#414: Love Poem for My School, April 10, 2022

Rex Putnam High School

I’ve spent 37 years
of my life within your walls.
I grew up there,
my teenage brain
nourished, my creativity
That bedrock of care
planted seeds
that would germinate
into a course of study,
a search for vocation
that would bring me
back inside this campus
for a career. As I evolved,
so did your walls, shifting,
growing, moving into new
spaces, to such an extent
that I sometimes have to
work at remembering
how you used to be, in the same
way I find myself asking,
how did I used to be?
And I could list the ways
you and I have transformed,
grown through the difficult
and the triumphant,
the losses and the victories,
and that list would be epic
and it would be nearly
impossible to complete,
just as the names of the
thousands of young people
you have guided through
my door, impossible to
remember. But you have
been kind to me–even
though the work you’ve
entrusted me with has
never been easy, and often
insanely difficult, in 33 years
I could count on one hand
those moments when
I thought I could not continue,
when I thought the battle was
not worth fighting.
I trusted you, and you always
provided me, when things got especially
hard, with some kind of succor–
with kind, motivated students,
with engaged, compassionate
colleagues, with leadership
that, almost without exception,
seemed to be banking on my
success and longevity.
I could say that I have been
lucky beyond imagination–
but there’s a part of me
that believes that you,
not luck or chance, or
my own limited gifts, you,
this building and this place
I have come to know as
a second home, were somehow
conscious of taking care
of what was inside.
It will not be easy to walk
out your doors for the last
time, but I have faith that,
just as you welcomed me in,
you will bless my leave-taking.

Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

One thought on “#414: Love Poem for My School, April 10, 2022

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