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Base Camp

For the last few days, life has pushed away anything as ordinary and comforting as poetry, or even thinking of the first day of school. But it’s on the calendar, so it must be here. I can’t gather enough words around me to write a poem.  But here is the poem I wrote last year for the first day of school.  I was proud of it then, because it said so clearly what I wished for my students.  What I wish for them this year, too.

All the books you never read
are stacked against you
one tall precarious tilt casts
a long invisible shadow over you
Shadow you will not admit exists
like gravity and oxygen it is Real.

This is our year.
I didn’t know you when you were
turning away or turned away
or never brought near the
world’s foothills and mountains
of board books, picture books,
easy readers, chapter books.
But I know you now.
I am offering now I am
handing out climbing gear and in
this world both
tools and mountains
are made of Words
Somewhere up there are stories for you
every thing you need to scale
any height you choose.
Here’s a great book.
Start climbing.

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