Slice of Life/SmallPoems Day 14 (all our children)

(I am participating in the March Slice of Life challenge via the Two Writing Teachers site.  Slice of Life is the idea of noticing the small moments. I have been a participant for many years and each year, I wonder if I will have the energy to write every day. This year, I am going to try to coincide it with my daily poetry writing, and intend to compose small poems on small moments. We’ll see how it goes …)

I have mostly been avoiding any context for my Slice of Life poems this month, hoping the words will surface the moments that inspire the verse. But with the temporary closure of our school, and many others around us and in the country and world, I can’t help but think about the divide between the Haves and the Have-Nots, and those kids who need school as a safe place, as a place for regular meals, as a place for connecting with peers. And how summer vacations and other breaks are not seen as something to look forward to but something to dread. I think a lot about those kids. They’re all our children. – Kevin

Day Fourteen

Whose children
will awake in uncertain
days, only to wonder
whether it is better
to save breakfast for lunch,
or lunch for breakfast,
for one is now the other
until otherwise notified?

Our Children

Whose children
will worry about neighbors
on all of our behalf —
the elderly, the sick,
the lost and lonely,
the forgotten cul de sacs
of community —
the not knowing
more unsettling than
the knowing itself?

Our Children

Whose children
will spend their time
in unforced silence –
a collective quiet beyond
the hum of youthful noise
on the tail of social distancing –
neither connected nor rejected
but reflected in reality
that home might be
the loneliest place to be?

All Our Children

Peace (reaching out),
Kevin

25 Comments
  1. I too am concerned for those whose home lives are in disarray and who find school to be their safe haven. This morning, I read that local libraries are closing and it took my breath away, not in a good way. It’s not just about toilet paper anymore.

  2. It is so hard to think about the kids we care for each day being on their own. While some will be in homes much like my own, with thoughtful parents who try to find the balance between work and play, all the while being cautious about over reacting and rising levels of anxiety…we all know that some will not. Some will be in a far worse place and there will be no one to notice.

    • Every family will be different, and every kid’s experience will be different. Hard to know who will be fine and resilient, and who may not be. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it.
      Kevin

  3. Kevin, your beautiful words spoke directly to my heart. I am so concerned for those kids whose lives will not be richer at home in the warmth of family. Whose meals are compromised because they usually have two at school? The sudden closer left us unprepared and in turn we didn’t prepare those kiddos who are counting on us to make their world seem predictable and safe. All the beautiful online content I might create, though forbidden by our administration, would not reach them now.

  4. Beautifully put, Kevin. School is a safe, nurturing place for many. The word came of our districts closure quite quickly on Wednesday afternoon. We efficiently, and calmly distributed the “distance learning” materials many had worked to prepare. One of my colleagues came across a 5th grader in tears. I pray for all our children and their families during this time. We will get through this, together. Your words are powerful.

  5. Kevin,
    You are not alone in asking the question, “Whose children?” and answering “our children.” We do t have diagnosed cases of COVID-19 yet in Idaho, but I know school closure discussions are happening. I was encouraged yesterday to hear our governor talk about the concerns you raise in both your commentary and poem. If schools do close, I’ve been thinking about what I can do for those children who don’t have as much as I have.

    • I hope our administration is having discussions about this … but I’m not sure (I am not in that loop). I saw our local state Rep saying she was concerned about food issues and others and would press our Gov to make sure regulations are loosened, etc.
      Kevin

  6. Kevin,
    This is a beautiful and sad poem. It is so good to remember. We are off for a month at my school, and I know each child has a unique experience. God bless and hold them in these trying times.

    • Yes. I reminded my students as they left yesterday — Be kind to each other and look out for one another. I hope that happens during our time away from school.
      Kevin

  7. “neither connected nor rejected
    but reflected in reality
    that home might be
    the loneliest place to be?”
    OMG, this! So many forms of deprivation are possible in every scenario “on the tail of social distancing.”
    Thank you for these words at this time.

  8. Thought provoking words Kevin. I can’t stop thinking about the “have nots” who once again will lose out on so much with this COVID crisis. Right now all I can do is pray.

  9. Thanks for this, Kevin. I also worry about NYC kids who will continue (at least for now) to attend school, which puts their elders and physically-compromised relatives at home in jeopardy. I understand why our schools are remaining open, but putting others at risk can’t be the best answer.

    Wishing us all well as we navigate these unsettling times!

  10. You capture what is on so many minds–the conversations we have been having in my house–the worries that are complicated, no solutions seem easy. I truly love reading your poems–context or not. It helps to be connected, to hear your words echo my thoughts. Thanks for sharing your words.

    Kim

  11. Your poem speaks from the heart. This virus-created situation will be a challenge for everyone. As teachers we often know that for some kids the school is the place where they get the care and love they need to grow healthy physically and emotionally. For them it is not the academic to worry about but rather the heart and stomach.

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