I was thinking deep about one of my students — a boy whose past is written all over his face every single day and he is one of those students who doesn’t care about school, doesn’t try to make any effort, and doesn’t connect with other people on any emotional level. He worries me to no end.
So I wrote a poem about him for my OnePoemEveryMonthforaYear project, just to try to get at my own understanding of who he is and what he is going through.
You sit —
hands on the fidget —
your mind a million miles away,
writing — the last thing you want to be doing
and you listen to the voice but don’t react.
There is no one in the room but you, and your thoughts.
You move forward — trudging up from slumber, a silent sleepwalker of life —
waiting for something or someone that you are certain will never come:
a hero, a savior,
a messenger whom you wouldn’t recognize anyway because heroes have knocked before
and then disappeared before you could even answer them
— that’s how far away you are —
and there you are, staring vacantly at the open door, open into the wildness of your heart;
the wilderness; the place where you again wonder why it is that you are here
and worrying about nothing more than survival.
Sleepwalker, you move among us but are not of us.
The wound lies so deep, so far down,
that the tenderness that comes of kindness is like the painful knife of the past.
You reject it all just for the sake of protection,
and in doing so,
your slumber grows deeper and deeper until you are nothing more than just a shadow cast upon the wall.
Awaken, sleepwalker, and let us see you.
Awaken, sleepwalker, awake!
Peace (with patience and understanding),