Poem in response to a photo prompt from long ago



This photo was the prompt.  And this is one of the many versions of the poem I wrote, most lost.  I found this on an old document from 1999.   Oh my, so many of those abstract concepts.  But fun to find.  Hmm… maybe another rewrite is in order.

I wonder what the news was of the day that convinced me the cold ones rule? I know it’s sure something I still fee.

The Stranger

Oh, so cold
the stranger is everywhere
the soul? sniveling little pest
we’ve sent away.

Trust us, you can
not trust us
Can’t read us, can you?

Modernity’s muse:
mirthless smiles
We see through you
but we are divine;
you cannot
comprehend us.

The stranger is everywhere,
existential nausea chokes.

It’s just that simpering little pest,
that whiner, that soul.

(c) L. Lee 2000

Delaware Charter Teachers Vote to Unionize

From the article:

Laslinkst night, Charter School of Wilmington teachers made a huge vote. They became the only current charter school in Delaware to join the Delaware State Education Association. As such, they will be a part of the National Education Association as well. This opens the door for other charter schools to unionize in the future. Often, when one domino falls…

For more information, go here: Delaware Charter Teachers Vote to Unionize

Two Great American writers: Alcott and Cather


Yesterday I images once upon a timewrote about Willa  Cather, a  great American writer. Links to her most popular novel can be found here: Full Text My Antonia Willa Cather.

And more information about this novel’s 100 year anniversary can be found here: My Antonia 100 year anniversary.

I believe I should re-read My Antonia next in tribute! It’s a precious novel to me, with characters I understand, from the plucky Antonia to the depressed and ultimately suicidal father who laments the harshness of the prairie life, missing his urban life back in Europe.

But we also have to have a look at Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women.  Full text of the novel can be found here: Full text of Little Women.

Like Cather, Alcott felt her life was limited by being born female. Alcott saw her mother working day and night while her father was speaking to Emerson, Thoreau, and at times even Nathaniel Hawthorne; imagine those three greats as your neighbors.

I underestimated Alcott until I read more about her and saw PBS’s biopic, which may be found here: Alcott on American Masters PBS.

I regret I underestimated Alcott as a writer, being influenced by the rather young adult/ juvenile novels she wrote. She wrote so much more!  She supported her family of four sisters AND her parents (mom and all the sisters worked at whatever “respectable” women could do, while it seems the father was educated but not particularly inclined to work after his school failed)  with her writing of dark gothic stories and then these wildly popular “little women” type novels.  Of the latter, she disliked writing them but to quote Fantine from Les Miserables?  “It pays a bill.”

I would encourage watching this program and getting to know more about Alcott.

Of the three female writers I have written about so far, Anne Frank, Louisa May Alcott, and Willa Cather, both Alcott and Cather did feel constrained by being female.  Anne Frank did not live long enough to learn what the world would do with her, a female writer, after World War II.  I don’t want to limit them by saying they are “just” women writers–they were good writers, period. Their gender, for Alcott and Cather, did limit their careers they felt.

Worth looking into further, this idea of how gender can partially become destiny.  All three were good writers, however, and I cannot help but wonder what they could have written if they were born male.

I believe the Bronte sisters in England, (Bronte sisters) published using male names, and I believe they also supported an intellectual father who, if I remember correctly, didn’t bring in much money to support the family. I will look into this further.

I am not a literary scholar not an academic; I am a caring writer myself who is in awe of anyone talented in writing.  I like to spotlight and give tribute to the greats as I can in my own small way.  In a way, it’s good I’m not a scholar but just an interested reader and writer myself, since that way I can be wrong and admit it if I am.

***Another issue to consider later on is social class; Cather, Alcott, and even Anne Frank came from families that might be considered middle class today.  I wonder if that is whey they could even dream of being WRITERS.

Anyone else have a favorite female writer? I’d love to hear about her!

Chicago: The Measurable Result of Closing 50 Schools in One Day in 2013

Educators could have predicted this! Why don’t we listen to those who in the know?

Diane Ravitch's blog

Julie Vassilatos read the report of the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research about the closing of 50 schools in one day in 2013. She knew that there was no academic gain for the children affected.


But there was one measurable result that no one talked about: Sorrow.

“The sorrow of children whose schools were closed.

“It’s measurable. The researchers measured it. They liken the losses that the students–and teachers, staff, and families–experienced, to grief. The technical term for it is “institutional mourning.” Children and staff talked about losing their school “families,” spoke of the forced separations like a divorce, or a death. Generations-long relationships with schools ended abruptly after a pained, humiliating school year of battling to keep them open–schools that served as neighborhood anchors, social roots, home of beloved teachers. Most of the 50 shuttered schools have since stood empty and fallow after the closings, untended…

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Writers: writing, politics, art… Tuck Magazine mini review

journal      As promised, I will continue to post links to sites I find are good for teachers, writers, poets, and more.

Tuck Magazine
–an online political, human rights and arts magazine, because social justice and the arts are important.

From their site:

“Tuck Magazine is a political, human rights, lit, music and arts journal with a difference: we aim to entertain a wide variety of readers globally.”

Now don’t you want to go there and read?  I feel it’s important to have creativity walk with compassion, which is the “slogan” of this site, after all.  I like what they are publishing.

If you have some sites you consider worth reading and investigating, let me know!

Laura Lee

Teach to Kill? On Arming Teachers…

insprie teacher change  Before I begin, I acknowledge there are caring teachers who need to protect themselves from harm while teaching; I myself was hurt more than once, threatened more than once, and was assaulted once.  I was lucky and wasn’t hurt badly at all, but I recognize there are many teachers who risk their own safety every day.  I also recognize there are teachers who could successfully handle being armed in the classroom.  Not me, however. 

And now…

This topic is so important to me, I’ve written two poems about the concept of making our American schools safer by arming teachers.  One has been published in  https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Mr-President-Journal-Modern/dp/0692100644/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527104908&sr=8-1&keywords=dear+mr+president+poetry+book

A more recent poem is out for consideration right now.

I cannot stop thinking about this–so much could go wrong. I’ve stopped my list at two dozen things that can go wrong with arming teachers!  While I do believe in some very rare circumstances perhaps a teacher could save a life or two, I believe this would be so rare that arming teachers would only make teachers, schools, and students possibly less SAFE.

I have also made a list of the many things my colleagues and I have done to try and make students safer; the list is very long.

Please don’t ask, expect, or rely on teachers to shoot dead.  Teach to kill?  I’m not sure I want to teach with someone able to make split second life and death decisions; I know I would not be able to do so!  I ponder everything, even simple things.

It would change the very nature of teaching and the teacher/ student relationship, which is founded on trust and respect.

When I taught in an urban area, I only half jokingly told my students I would take a bullet for them. I know I always kept my door locked, checked up on students I was worried about, tried to get them the professional services they needed, reported anything that looked dangerous at school, and more.  I do not even want to write down some of the things I did when I was terribly worried about kids–I look back now and wonder what I was thinking.

I wasn’t thinking. I was hoping if I stayed at school long enough, nothing bad could happen to these great kids.  That was magical thinking, as if I, who left each day and headed to my mostly safe suburban patio grading papers could someone change the reality of where they lived.

And they get to you, kids.  They get into your heart in a way I was not prepared for. Losing one?  The thought was terrifying.

So perhaps I would have taken a bullet, but fire one? I don’t know.  I’m such a nervous person no one should want me with a gun.  Hubby has said my most formidable weapon was my relentless caring and fast talking.  Me with a car is dangerous.

Please don’t put this on teachers who tend to enter the field to help others or to pursue and promote their discipline.  We are not trained law enforcement agents nor should we be asked if we have a FOID CARD.  Would that then be an unspoken new plus, being armed?

This HSP http://hsperson.com/ (me) could not live with myself if I shot and missed and killed an innocent person. Or if I left a class to pursue an active shooter and my kids got hurt.  Or if I did manage to kill a violent shooter? I would spend the rest of my life pondering the morality of this.  I know I would not pass the psychological evaluation to be a police officer!  I am a pro at teaching and mentoring, and I imagine I am not alone.

Please don’t put this on us!  To quote my own poem, please let us inspire students with other than guns.

We have an arsenal of skills to protect and inspire–please not with guns.