The symbols of hexagons, surrounding circles
transformed into circles crossed by lines
get repeated with chalk, white on black board
many times as you talk to the young.

With the unfolding of years you continue to stand
at the junction of the child and the man,
you give advice to those few who reach you
and help them become who they are.

Your mind offered me knowledge of things
and your outstretched hand friendship, a light
more stable than any of those bonds
by which our dark center barely holds tight.

Those lonely walks through wide teeming halls
with students who think they know what they want
should ready your soul to breathe with a sign:
it is not senseless, this passage of time.

John Correia, mi maestro de química

Los símbolos de hexágonos, alrededor de círculos
transformados en círculos cruzado por líneas
se repiten con gis blanco en pizarrón negro
muchas veces cuando le hablas a la juventud.

Con el deshilar de los años continúas parado
al borde del niño y el hombre,
das consejo a los pocos que se te acercan
y les ayudas a volverse lo que son.

Tu mente me ofreció conocimiento de las cosas
y tu mano extendida una amistad, una luz
más estable que cualquier unión
por la cual nuestro negro centro apenas se mantiene firme.

Esas caminatas solitarias por pasillos amplios y llenos
con alumnos que creen que saben lo que quieren
deberían preparar tu alma a suspirar con aliento:
no está sin sentido, este pasar del tiempo.

From El ciclo de aprendizaje. Copyright © 2005, Bilingual Press / Editorial Bilingüe, Arizona State University.

This is the word that is always bleeding.
You didn't think this
until your country changes and when it thunders
you search your own body
for a missing hand or leg.
In one country, there are no bodies shown,
lies are told
and they keep hidden the weeping children on dusty streets.

But I do remember once
a woman and a child in beautiful blue clothing
walking over a dune, spreading a green cloth,
drinking nectar with mint and laughing
beneath a sky of clouds from the river
near the true garden of Eden.
Now another country is breaking
this holy vessel
where stone has old stories
and the fire creates clarity in the eyes of a child
who will turn it to hate one day.

We are so used to it now,
this country where we do not love enough,
that country where they do not love enough,
and that.

We do not need a god by any name
nor do we need to fall to our knees or cover ourselves,
enter a church or a river,
only do we need to remember what we do
to one another, it is so fierce
what any of our fathers may do to a child
what any of our brothers or sisters do to nonbelievers,
how we try to discover who is guilty
by becoming guilty,
because history has continued
to open the veins of the world
more and more
always in its search
for something gold.

Copyright © 2016 by Linda Hogan. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

My skeleton,
you who once ached
with your own growing larger

are now,
each year
imperceptibly smaller,
absorbed by your own

When I danced,
you danced.
When you broke,

And so it was lying down,
climbing the tiring stairs.
Your jaws. My bread.

Someday you,
what is left of you,
will be flensed of this marriage.

Angular wristbone's arthritis,
cracked harp of ribcage,
blunt of heel,
opened bowl of the skull,
twin platters of pelvis—
each of you will leave me behind,
at last serene.

What did I know of your days,
your nights,
I who held you all my life
inside my hands
and thought they were empty?

You who held me all my life
inside your hands
as a new mother holds
her own unblanketed child,
not thinking at all.


Copyright © 2013 by Jane Hirshfield. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on October 14, 2013.