#460: There was in that crazy business . . .

Here’s the third sonnet in a trilogy, the result of a sudden sonnetplosion about my 32 years as a high school English teacher, 32 years in the same school. The second sonnet in this series pretended to be about things I’d miss about the profession, but turned out to be kind of the opposite thing. This one, however, continues with that effort more successfully, I think. On day 20 of NaPoWriMo I clocked in three sonnets, the first writing I’ve done about teaching (I think) since I stopped doing it.

Here’s a sonnet that is almost completely unrhymed–except for in one case in the middle of the poem where a rhyme is used three lines almost in a row, but not always at the end. I kind of dig that, a kind of mid-tri-couplet. A triplet. And I’ve jettisoned the rhyming couplet on this one for the first time in 22 poems in favor of an odd repetition of the same word at the beginning and at the end of the last line. Why not?


There was in that crazy business
Everywhere something good, always.
Breakthrough moments, some students
Making miraculous movement forward.
Teachers inventing new ways of doing
Old things, or simply by virtue of who
They were, bringing all of that to bear.
I remember moments of deep despair, 
When everything went wrong, but those
Moments were so rare I could count them up.
Mostly, I walked the halls and approached my
Classroom with a giddiness that made young
People giggle. In that school I found joyful
Work, joyful, ridiculously impossible work. 

Published by michaeljarmer

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

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