When I started teaching I used Shel Silverstein's poetry to stimulate conversation. One poem in particular drove the Professor mad. The title of the poem was a play on words, but he couldn't understand what 'a play on words' meant. "God's Wheel," I told him, "could also be taken for God's will." He fought the idea like crazy, telling me I was wrong, but then a little while later I saw that he'd gotten it. His eyes sparkled and his whole body softened. For the next few weeks the Professor brought in poems he'd written, powerful poems, deep poems, poems that must have been burning inside of him for a long time.
Here's one he brought in a few weeks ago:
"The Ocean you can't see"
eat, and sleep on the bottom of an ocean.
The ocean is really
an invisible ocean of air
that covers the world like the skin of an orange.
The air you breathe,
the air that blows in your face as a breeze,
the air that smells like dinner cooking,
and the air that can carry the sound
of your voice when you speak.
~~~Last week Lu sent an exuberant email from NYC, a poem in itself. Here it is (taking liberties with phrasing):
[I]t is brilliant fall
and the ginkgoes in Central Park are ablaze
and the river
the river is surging and swelling