Monday, July 31, 2006


And then there’ll be an anchor!
So that’s the end of the poem –
Let’s get it out of the way.
Good, now we can talk.

I was at home yesterday
In the morning –
Didn’t grade any papers until afternoon.
This life seems strange to me,
I like it, yes, but there are grays and shadows
I’m not used to –
The kitchen is so much more desperately alive.
Another dinner crowd, no time,
Suddenly the magic erupts.
You know it is up to you,
The others who can do it are in other kitchens,
Doing just as you are doing now,
Something special, something that
Looks like everything else but isn’t.

But this is good,
Getting to watch the young grow,
Helping them when you can.
Such young lives, so unprepared for the
Restless rolling, the searching and finding,
And finding you need to search some more.
I remember this innocence
And how hopeful and frustrating it was.
The hope always leading into
Contradiction rather than answers
And the contradictions and frustrations
Being loaded with answers you can’t peel away
And enjoy them separately.

Life is such a mess of stormy waters
And calm too – time, yes but all rolled together –
Present, past/future –
Papers, un-sortable,
Magic, still somewhat out of reach,
Got to find it so that things don’t stay the same
So that life is not just another day
No matter how others think it is –
So that I can give something to these kids
They will always be able to use –
Words that find the chance of describing
What it is they will soon
See and feel, so that they can tell their
Own kids so that when the storms come
And everything seems so fragile,
Insubstantial, changeable -
So that there will be an anchor.


Pat Paulk said...

WOW! WOW! and more WOW!! This flows like a river; serpentine, but the only way to get from A to B. Wonderful Poem!!

Russell Ragsdale said...

Pat, your passionate response does me much honor! You are too kind, my perceptive friend, to this fatboy chef turned lecturer. Thanks so much for this comment!

Sue hardy-Dawson said...

Floating listlessley in the sea of my own teenagers right now this feeling of great responsabilty for much that I cannot and should not try to change the idea of being an achor is comforting. Even if sometimes I have to look about me to check when it was I became the wise grown up in charge or if I have

Russell Ragsdale said...

Thanks Sue! I often find myself wondering how I got here? Then I see how much they need what I can share with them and, for all my faults, I feel better about it. You'd laugh, by the way as my spelling is not so good either. I often think of you while I'm standing at the blackboard "getting a little help" from my students.