Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Prairie Flower - The Crocus

The Crocus is the official flower of Manitoba. They symbolize beauty and endurance.
Some while back I wrote a little poem that had these elements in it and I came across it today in some files.
I feel like putting it up on the blog because this is also grad season; a lot of students starting a new chapter in their lives and for a lot of teachers, some much earned rest before going back to the grind.
When I wrote this, I thought of the teachers I know that love what they do.
This is for them:

The Crocus

She stands and looks at the row of desks
Like the furrows on her father’s farm
That she left nearly 40 years ago
Moved to Brandon
Got her teaching degree
And for the last 4 decades
She’s planted in these furrows
Some years it was a hard crop
The year Randy Benson
The terror of the middle school
Landed in her back row
She understood though
That he sometimes slept because he worked nights
He reminded her of her brother Frank
All feet and calloused hands
She knew better than to read aloud to the whole class the poetry
That came in like a late harvest in November
She had a way with the roughhousers
“If it’s under my classroom door when I get here on Monday, I’ll grade it as Friday”
No one ever thought Randy would be one of the ones to go on to brighter things.
Yet there he was off to Winnipeg and then Toronto.
She’d rarely taken a day off sick
Farmer’s daughter that she was
Crops and cows don’t know the word “burnout”
There had been the years she’d thought of giving up
Usually round about February
But always by the end of spring she’d renew her contract.
The new principle just might stick,
Fresh ideas but a good respect for “if it aint broke don’t fix it”.
She moves through the classroom now straightening desks
Preparing her furrows for another year.
Mr. Hoglund the caretaker will  be repainting this summer.
There’s rumors about computers but the board has to approve the budget.
She notices on her desk what she had not seen before
A little clay pot and in it
Gently taken from the prairie earth and living still
A treasure for her garden
A crocus
The little flower that comes every year
Small and sturdy
Roots running  into the prairie earth
All the sweeter having come through winter
Delicate and yet enduring
Back for another year