SCHOOL by Arnold Greenberg

One of my favourite poems.

SCHOOL – by Arnold Greenberg

Our teacher handed us some seeds
and said,
“Go plant these in your yard
and water them,
then let your questions grow
with every leaf.
He hardly spoke except to ask
what’s on our minds,
and when we didn’t say a word,
he’d shake his head and say,
“Well that’s too bad-
We’ve nothing to discuss,”
And then he’d sit down on a rock
and look up at the sky or at the dirt
and think.
One day we asked him
why he wouldn’t teach
and he replied,
“I am.”
“What do you mean?” we asked.
And when he said-
“I gave you seeds to plant
And everyday I ask
what’s on your minds
and now
I’m waiting patiently
for you to learn
your teacher is inside of you.
I’m just a friend
with questions of my own,
but if you asked
what’s on my mind,
I’d have so many thoughts to share
we’d talk all day,
if I believed you cared-
and only then .
That’s when our school began.
Our gardens grew
and leaf by leaf our questions bloomed,
and when he asked
what’s on our minds,
he’d have to say,
“Slow down-
there’s so much to discuss
and do.
Let’s find a way to turn this flood
into deep pools
where we can dive and not be swept away.
And when we did,
he stepped aside and said,
“Now swim.”
I can’t say now
how many years ago
I learned from him
that school was in my head
and there are gardens everywhere
and pools
where I could sit all night
with frogs
and croak my questions at the moon
and then dive in.