#427: A Poem from Whitman’s “I Hear America Singing” on April 21, 2022

my school, again

I hear the American High School
singing, the varied carols I hear:
students sing their way
down the hallways and
into classrooms, where,
sometimes, they stop
singing, quiet, heads
down, depressed or
exhausted–other times
the singing never ceases
and their verses and choruses
percolate and resonate through
each 87 minute period.
I hear the teachers
sing their teaching voices,
singing their lessons
unceasingly, tirelessly,
mustering the energy
reserves to sing all the way
through to the end,
day after day, 180 of them,
year after year.
I hear the campus security
team, singing their
support and care for the
safety of everyone inside.
The cooks and the janitors,
doing what they can, their songs
keeping the people fed
and the building clean,
a deathless song without end.
I hear the singing of the entire
support staff, instructional assistants,
registrars, office secretaries,
couriers, all singing to keep
everything hanging together.
And I hear the principal singing,
juggling a dozen different songs,
sometimes singing the verse
from one after the chorus of
another, looking for the absolute
best tune from which to lead,
never completely satisfied,
always striving. All of them singing
in the American High School
through open mouths
their strong, melodious songs.

Published by michaeljarmer

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

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