Poem: Teacher, Teacher

mb25-TeacherChildren, the Great Consciousness in its myriad forms. May I honor each one as we work together. I enter a room filled with small eager beings busy with things to see, learn, do. It's kindergarten class, and I'm the guest teacher

Suddenly there's a tap on my leg, a tug on my sleeve, so many touches at once,

I can't think.

I want to stop these pawing hands, these voices, voices, voices. The world that clamors for my attention.

"Teacher, teacher, see I can write my name." "Teacher, teacher, look at the building we made." "Teacher, teacher, listen to the story I wrote."

"Calm yourself," I mutter, "these are only little kids." But their never-ending touches drive my nerve endings to the edge of sanity.

"Teacher, teacher, do you like my picture?" "Teacher, teacher, I catched the ball three times." "Teacher, teacher, listen to the song I know."

I look down noses taking the breath of life, mouths excited with the formation of words, skin luminescent with newness hair carefully braided, hair straggly and brittle, eyes all shades, large and luminous, deep and dark, clear blue, hazel, gray, brown, black, open.

Hands holding a picture— "Special, for you teacher." the voice soft as milkweed about to fly off on the wind.

"Teacher, teacher, see, I sharpened the pencil all by myself." "Teacher, teacher, look at the puzzle I finished." "Teacher, teacher, I can count to 100."

I am looking into the soul of the universe the Great Consciousness fresh from its source.

I breathe in once, twice, three times. Now the tapping feels like gentle waves lapping my thigh, Fall leaves brushing against me as I walk. Buddha nature, present, visible, vibrant.

"Teacher, teacher, see how high I can jump." "Teacher, teacher, look, I put everything away." "Teacher, teacher, read me this story."

And suddenly, "teacher, teacher" is my bell of mindfulness.

I turn. On the edge of class a child sits, eyes clouded, face tight, lips pulled. So soon? I walk over, the child shrinks into himself. The Great Source in pain. "You are beautiful, special," I whisper in passing, "I'm glad you're here."

Oh, that I could be open and compassionate all day long. That I didn't slip, wasn't short, never used a sharp voice.

But the children help. "Teacher, teacher," they say, and the mindfulness bell rings again.

"Teacher, teacher, I cut good with my scissors, don't I?" "Teacher, teacher, please tie my shoe." "Teacher, teacher, I like you."

Diane L. Ste. Marie Seattle, Washington, USA

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