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reachtree.jpgThough I gave up the teaching game two years ago, I am still in contact with some of the students I felt most connected to. Recently, one of them sent me an email, asking about what jobs there are out there for English majors, besides teaching. I have done almost everything you can do with an English degree: taught, tutored, wrote for a newspaper, published my own work, worked for a publishing company, edited, copywrote, and proofread. But it has been a long haul. I graduated with no real sense of how to get my foot in the door to any of these areas. Below is my response to her. I hope it will helpful to college students with similar questions.

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Many thanks to Liz for her submission!

Beloved Three

I.

I feel three pairs of eyes
Lurking and gazing out
From three heedful heads
With flowing black locks

Three graceful fingers
Wagging a warning
With three tongues a-ready
To go clucking amok

Six clever feet
Tapping rhythms of caution
A trio in minor
Singing inquiring refrains

I have six arms to hug me
Six hands to hold
Three beautiful angels,
Guardians so bold

Vigilant daughters
Of word and of sound
Their love, a light around me
Their devotion abounds

I still often wonder why
They have chosen me to love
I have three beautiful angels here on Earth
To help the ones above

(Mar 18, 2006)

II.

Hush, my Heart, subside this beating
Fast flim-flamming rhythmic flow
My beloved three tonight are beaming
There they go
And how they go

This night, their lives as pupils gleaning
Vicarious knowledge from tomes long past
Parroted endlessly by tongues unceasing
Will cease at last
Cease at long last

Giddy Pride, swells, overflowing
As each angel mine on petalled stage tread
A hand to the devil, graciously hinting
Of lives ahead
Grand lives ahead

Stop, my Tears, subside thy gath’ring
Tomorrow awaits though Night is over
Outside this hallowed hall, continuing
A Dance Quartet
Forever and ever

(Mar 26, 2006)

And the why:

I’m a teacher and this two-part poem was inspired by three students of mine who supported me and acted as my wise counsels during a particularly difficult school year. The second poem is about their graduation and the hope of continuing friendship. Being a teacher is such a challenge and, often, it’s the students who make the job worthwhile. The end of that schoolyear was bittersweet because we were all leaving: me, to work elsewhere; and them, to go on with their studies. This poem is for those three girls and all my students, my reason for teaching, who cared.

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