Zing Stories

Life Roles

a poem from Organic Sister

 For Kenilworth's Year Tens on Graduation Night

We teachers did our bit to prepare you for life.

In your years of schooling
we surely made you cry at least once.
This was to prepare you for pain.
We sometimes shouted at you -
to prepare you for stress.
We snarled at you -
to prepare you for the unexpected.
We nagged you
to accustom you to those (other) people you'll meet
who always think they know better than you.
We shaped you mercilessly
to prepare you for life with Big Brother
and bored you stupid to ensure
that the mediocrity of everyday life
doesn't take you too much by surprise.
We sometimes popped-our-eyes-went-red-in-the-face-
            and-bulged-the-veins-of-our-necks
to remind you that anger is not a pretty sight.
We ignored you -
glazing our eyes like geriatrics on morphine -
necessary to prepare you for the indifference of the outside world.

Just when you REALLY wanted to know
whether God was Dead
how to get a job with 20% youth unemployment
how to tell if you were Really in Love
we taught you
sonnets of the sixteenth century
photosynthesis
functions of the brain
and amoebic reproduction.

Sometimes we got it right.

We suggested
            and you recognised
we set things up
            and you discovered
we gave you space
            and you filled it.

Now we part.
Some say you're like prisoners tasting freedom
or like fledglings, or butterflies
like new leaves unfurling
like shooting stars (already in another galaxy)
like fresh waves in the vast ocean of humanity.
Now you're
            swelling
                        swelling with purpose
            rushing
                        rushing from teachers, parents and each other
            travelling across new expanses, over new depths
to bask in sunshine strange to us
to be whipped grey by storms we didn't know
and to cradle new life forms, gently, gently.

According to our capacities
we gave you what wisdom we had -
and you dosed us
with your fat-as-butter,
your rainbow-and-tears youth.

 

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Lesley Synge
Zing Stories
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