Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Poetic Interlude

I'm back to work getting all fired up about how Montessori philosophy and pedagogy can cure all educational and social ills -- and I'm still enjoying my commutes kid-free. This experience of hanging out at bus stops is bringing back memories of such a wonderful time in my life--my two plus years in Taiwan.

Two years with great friends, lots of stimulation and no car. I always learned so much hanging out at bus stops. Most of the Chinese that I can read I learned from street signs. I felt so good when I knew how to read all of my major bus stop names so that I could stop and any bus stop, check out the sign, and know that I could figure out the bus to take me where I needed to go.

Of course, traveling by bus requires a certain amount of patience, a lack of urgency really. If I had to regularly do it with my children I would most likely have to sell my soul for a car because hanging out with a two year old by the side of the road just would not be soothing.

Today I found myself as I once was--reading poetry by the side of a busy road. I have dilapidated copies of Buddhist sutras and Taoist philosophy that I used to carry around in my pockets because I knew that at some point in the day I would find myself with a small chunk of time on my hands.

Those days are past now. I've been traveling around recently listening to Sesame Street's All Platinum Hits. (It's not Emily Dickinson, but those songs are classics.)

So here's my bus stop poem:

Such Different Wants

The board floats on the river.
The board wants nothing
but it pulled from beneath
on into deeper waters.

And the elephant dwelling
on the mountain wants
a trumpet so its dying cry
can be heard by the stars.

The wakeful heron striding
through reeds at dawn wants
the god of sun and moon
to see his long skinny neck.

You must say what you want.
I want to be the man
and I am who will love you
when your hair is white.

Robert Bly

I stepped onto the bus thinking: Do I say what I want? Do I know what I want?

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