30 April 2014

What Is Next

Rally against proposed public school closings in Chicago.
Thousands of parents, students, teachers, public school employees and
community residents rally against proposed public school closings in Chicago. 

Photograph: James Fassinger for the Guardian (Wednesday 27 March 2013)


What winter sheltered and spring thawed begins
to sprout between breaths and fingers and toes.

We cannot stop words budding like lilacs
from ideas planted during the last fall.

Mine are of retirement from teaching and
teaching’s retirement from education,
stones thrown that roll further downhill than is
feasible, that break unions and morale.

Even the uneducated sense loss
and pick up their banners ready to march.

Whose side are you on?  Whose side are you on?
we chant, but in truth, we prepare no sides.

Seeds are growing now, ready to burst out
in summer blaze, unions with strength and voice
to set standards, evaluate their own
members, and have the backs of those who work
with leadership that knows its values and
members’ value and how they provided
support to the system that now wrongs them.
What is next but no sides, no compromise.

What is next but these green seedlings that need
care, not stones, that grown will build something fresh.

Whose side are you on?  Whose side are you on?
we sing, planning inside community.

What is next but a re-envisioning
from the underground up, not rebuilding.
We march and visit on May Day, each one
teaching one so that commitment blossoms.

What winter sheltered and spring thawed begins
to sprout between breaths and fingers and toes.

We cannot stop words budding like lilacs
from ideas planted during the last fall.

We are unwilling to fall again, un-
willing to take sides when one side is all.




"Hold Your Fire" from Kevin Mulvenna on Vimeo.   Madison, Wisconsin (2011).



Posted for Day 30 of the April challenge  and for my prompt, Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Mayday or Walpurgis Night, which will open at 7am EST.  No copyright infringement is intended for media use.  Please email or message me if you want your picture/video removed.



Copyright © 2014  S.L.Chast 



9 comments:

Jae Rose said...

I like the line about teaching retiring from education..here in the UK that has certainly been the case for many years..students revise for tests..not for life or the love of learning..the repeated imagery works to great effect..new life based on the same old seeds..inevitable perhaps but there's always hope for something new..as long as we march

ccchampagne said...

From the second stanza you had me thinking of Waiting for Superman... It's so sad, yet very powerful and with a sense of careful optimism! I am definitely on your side! *smile*

humbird said...

'What is next but a re-envisioning
from the underground up, not rebuilding.' ~ like the idea. We really need the holistic approach of getting forward. Right, not choosing sides, but letting ideas flow...~ Deep, deep meaning and content in your poem, Susan! Happy May!

Kay L. Davies said...

So much here to think about, Susan.
Well done.
K

Sherry Blue Sky said...

"When one side is all" and "what is next is a re-envisioning" - powerful and visionary poem, Susan, on an issue that is so vitally important. When budgets matter more than education, the teachers' hands are hobbled. Love this poem.

alan1704 said...

words budding like lilac - Love this and such a beautiful and powerful message.

Bon said...

Great line and image here:
/We cannot stop words budding like lilacs
from ideas planted during the last fall./
:)

rallentanda said...

Teaching's retirement from education happened a long time ago. In this country some parents work two jobs to send their children to private schools because most of the public schools are below par. As for the disparity between the haves and have nots and the disappearance of the middle class..that is happening here too. Good poem.

Sumana Roy said...

being a teacher when i read about "teaching’s retirement from education," it numbs me totally but this is the truth
we must confess...it is a sin to forget about " these green seedlings that need / "care, not stones"..a very
powerful write Susan...