my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Did I Miss Anything?


As a teacher it is so tempting to answer the question “What did I miss?”with one end or the other of these sarcastic replies, but one must show professional restraint.It is fun to imagine though.


Did I Miss Anything?
Tom Wayman

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

     Everything. I gave an exam worth
     40 percent of the grade for this term
     and assigned some reading due today
     on which I’m about to hand out a quiz
     worth 50 percent

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

     Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
     a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
     or other heavenly being appeared
     and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
     to attain divine wisdom in this life and
     the hereafter
     This is the last time the class will meet
     before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
          on earth.

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

     Everything. Contained in this classroom
     is a microcosm of human experience
     assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
     This is not the only place such an opportunity has been
          gathered
     but it was one place
     And you weren’t here

From Did I Miss Anything? Selected Poems 1973-1993, 1993
Harbour Publishing     

2 comments:

marie-josé said...

Ouch! What else can I say?

The tragicomedy is well executed. But those teachers are too damn nihilistic, if you ask me.

This said, I have NOTHING to add.

pkcyphert said...

Guilty as charged!