09 June 2010

The Three Fish

The coleus from my classroom curls in circles around itself
calling my attention, begging me to set it free.
Hooks held its arms to framed words on the board,
as overhead it snaked its way along—
greening the chrome substructure of
suspended fluorescent lights.

A sign in my classroom says,
“Practice Fluency, Read to Plants.”
Feed them carbon dioxide,
while increasing your rate,
phrasing and

Situated near a silent angel
at home the coleus mourns
Voices from a Medieval Village
until it notices three fish,
leering at it from the porthole window.
It remembers loud mocking laughter
when Trevor pulled off its leaves,
tucked them behind his ears, and
danced them to death.

On its shelf this Wednesday, as I untwirl
its tendrils, the coleus sighs
relieved for attention.

Dear coleus, I vow to read aloud
one poem each day I wake here this summer,
until you return to the clamor of the classroom
next fall.

Tendrils at a vine’s end cling to my finger
touching gratitude at release.

I sit, open a classic, and
begin the summer with
The Three Fish,
a Barks’ translation of Rumi.

Shout out to Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides for Wednesday prompt 092.  Visit the link to see more responses to the prompt, which is: 

For today's prompt, write a poem that incorporates three things you can see from your computer. Use those three things however you wish. Maybe there's a picture, a window and a desk lamp. Maybe a pen, a paper and a cell phone. Pick the items, then write a poem. (If you want, for fun, you can include what the three things you used are either before or after the poem.)


Annelie said...

Thank´s for your comment on my blog! Oooooh, I love your header! So romantic and mysterios!

Linda Frances said...

I love the sign—practice fluency, read to plants. It's a sign best loved by teachers.

Linda Goin said...

I like how you focused everything around that coleus.

when Trevor pulled off its leaves,
tucked them behind his ears, and
danced them to death.


brenda said...

Annelie - Thanks for commenting on the header. Every other weekend I drive my daughter to her Dad's house approximately 100 miles away. I pulled over to the side of the highway when I saw mountains peeking through the clouds. It's interesting how much bigger the "mountains" are when they loom through clouds.

I love that I found your blog, so I can see pictures of Sweden!

Linda F. - The sign in my classroom is one I made with stencils. My students tell me I'm weird, and I thank them. :)

Linda G. - Thanks for visiting. It's funny how kids like "Trevor" win special places in my heart. As for the coleus, I tried to imagine its feelings on moving from my classroom to my home. It was a fun perspective to explore. It is draped, now, quite lovingly around the walls of my humble home. :) Trevor I imagine is causing trouble somewhere in town, but laughing as he goes....what a mischievous spirit that young one harbors. !

Linda Goin said...

I know a Trevor, and he's one of my clients. I think he was that child...and I love coleus, too, so this one has a special spot for me. PS -- dog humping boot is up. =)

brenda said...

Okay, so anyone else who stumbles across these comments has got to be curious. Click on Linda Goin's name to see her take on this Poetic Asides prompt, and a little dog too! You'll be glad that you did. :)

S.L. Corsua said...

I had a take-a-deep-satisfying-breath moment when I read the lines "greening the chrome substructure of / suspended fluorescent lights." The layers of contrasts here appeal to me so well. Thanks. Cheers.

brenda said...

Thanks for your comment, S. I actually stole the idea from another teacher down the hall. It certainly makes the classroom more homey.

Glad you stopped for a visit.