A Teacher In Covid

Already the interactions are painful,

the loss of touching hearts,

a lacking support

we each carry our own  grief

this virtual life apart.

 

Masks, cleansers, plexi-glass

we are talking teenagers

with opposing views,

a society brought in from home,

cannot imagine compliance,

if you believe that well you’re an as …

well, rather crass.

 

Different our lives,

having to rethink

that which will keep us wise,

only temporary

though lives are changed,

there is a certain grief

with losing that which we love.

 

Music, gatherings, a sport, the stage

All of these adjustments at this our age.


© Thom Amundsen 7/2020

Inspiration in a Quote

“No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible.”
— George Chakiris

 

I watched as autumn sun began to rise

a day in the life of a man so wise

he would punish himself, lay upon ground

rather than expand upon love he found.

For many years thereafter could we want

a would, a possibility, a taunt.

Such is the value of a peace of mind

when in throes we choose an only rewind.

In times of sorrow we grieve compassion,

the beauty of the human condition

must we shun all adversity favored

shallow sentiment in sorrow wavered.

Our lives touched by the grace of God we weep

we hope and dream our joy will we keep.


© Thom Amundsen 7/2020

On Letting Go

We are told, asked, suggested

sometime simple

plea

allow ourselves

remember only sweet memory.

 

Let the rest

all the pain and heartache

the shame and what ifs

become just that

alone

left in the past.

 

Oh to be so elementary

this a concept

a luxury in the peace of mind

so sought after

a yearning proposal

often unable to be felt

or practiced

analyzed to such a degree

the original idea

lost in the fabric

our own quiet

well-hidden lunacy.

 

For it is that which we seek,

a way to take a break,

leave behind a history

of resentments inside a facade

of happiness and a vision

would tell anyone nearby

life ‘rolls off of me’

and then I say goodbye

for today will be the promise

an uncharted new way.


© Thom Amundsen 7/2020

Measuring Distance

The lady had a tape measure at the beach

seriously, that is how she is coping,

can you fault her

are you perfect

wearing one

or critical eye

while the world around us

does ponder

is it you, them, that one time, yesterday,

how many people if it’s me

can I count on one hand, maybe two,

or hundreds perhaps

it has been five months by now,

maybe weeks before, several days, one day

maybe only one person

that matters

love


© Thom Amundsen 7/2020

The Sacrifice of a Feeling

Yesterday traveling ‘Old Steepee’ I careened upon gravel

ripping apart my knees in the rocky crags of a violent spill.

 

I could understand how someone might react to the news

a son or daughter in kind would experience shallow views

 

We as a nation seem easily drawn be opportunity to flounder

knowing somehow in the end no one takes any time to ponder.

 

Our lives are consistent with a penchant for sweet perfection

maybe my own having practiced this viral scheme of attention

 

Whatever case could conclude in our desire to find release

from the burden of sensitivity provides little felt peace.


© Thom Amundsen 7/2020

Letting Words Become Our Own

Have lost the day of the week,

my pen is dry of ink,

for the pattern of time did

dissipate and all mention

of passion did deteriorate.

 

In a wild search, looking

everywhere around us,

in our dreams,

daily routines,

a hot summer day,

a cold bitter frost,

every occasion

that man somehow

seems to need

to feel alive,

all containing words

just out of reach.

 

So instead there is a solemn

reaction to a lacking inspiration,

we seem compelled

to ask for attention,

rather than forgiveness.

 

Our own contemplation

of who we are,

where we have been,

how come we, this,

when did that last horizon

leave our own ambience

upon what once

is a consideration

of a stand alone

personal reckoning.

 

Where did they fall out of reach,

how will these ever match up.


© Thom Amundsen  7/2020

Finding a Moment

 Go home and write
      a page tonight.
      And let that page come out of you—
      Then, it will be true.
– Langston Hughes
~
Though when time would suggest
it is an easy ask,
this only task we have in life,
is to speak our truths,
who it is we might be,
what we believe,
how it could possibly be
that all of our time spent
in speculation
just another round of
wanting to know,
to give us reason
to live our lives by,
understand the whole
no matter the loss of insight
brought upon ourselves
with some unraveled deceit.
~
Finding the words
the best way to relate my story,
glancing out windows
where my life once used to be,
sort of meant to be,
the picket fence round gardens,
dog running free,
children in a play set
being watched by
you and me.
~
My view is a spotlight
across a little street,
windows like my own,
yet different lives,
we all seem to share a similar
structure
meant to hold form
rather  beyond an original,
that formula had its way
for decades or more,
and now,
in an aging pattern
of recognizing our mortality,
here to stay,
this will be the remainder
of my game.
~
I would look for my children
for theirs are the memory
I reflect upon,
standing by the river
teaching them both
how to dribble a ball,
skate on ice,
master a bicycle,
show excitement when they search
my own eyes,
rather than letting them see
some pain I must hide
I would wish they feel
laughter and love,
an eternal fantasy in dreams.
~
For now would these words be
the reality I am ask to only seem.

© Thom Amundsen 7/2020

Systemic Rhetoric and Schools

As a young child I was taught the concept of there are central arguments with the reaction to George Floyd’s death over memorial day weekend, the spark that merits a broader response to the tragedy.

One may realize it is difficult to conceptualize how to make change in the midst of such systemic reaction to racism in our society. One of the issues at hand is these ideals can no longer remain philosophical discussions. There is no time. Our children, students, young minds meant to be most impressionable at this age need to have optimism and hope in their lives. They need to feel heard rather than be subjugated to the same rhetoric following the lives of their elders down to them. Society is speaking loud and clear and we need to listen.

Recent events have shined the focal point of change and awareness upon school districts across the twin cities and country as well as our own in (pick a district). We need to be that change that begins to shed a light upon a privilege that interferes with progress in a far more ignorant manner than people would like to believe. Now ignorance is a powerful word, and its usage is not meant to offend as it is to make a point. If there is not action on an issue that has evidence before our eyes, we cannot get ahead of the crisis, and it eventually becomes yet another lost moment.

A sampling of k12 mission statements across the country speaks to the following: ensure that all students learn; each student continuously achieves one’s highest aspirations; embraces the diversity of the entire community; each student’s unique needs and abilities are merited; providing an equitable learning environment that embraces diversity and individual student needs. In each sampling there is an expressed need to recognize equity and inclusion as we try to move our children forward with pedagogical resource and focus.

The truth is nobody needs remain alone with their own personal response to a need for change. How we address our student needs going forward is paramount. We can believe we have an opportunity to make change only if we are consciously trying. Words alone have brought us to the edge, now it is time we step into the challenge.

These are difficult times, fighting through a pandemic, asking our students to focus on distance learning during a time when educational gaps are obvious, and finally, addressing the need for equity in a diverse community. Which one takes precedent in our mind falls upon a need to know what we value the most in our society. Each suggested problem could argue proportionate value.

The issue of recognizing there is a climate of implicit racism in our world comes to the forefront for me. We need to understand the individuality of our educational policy. Our students need to be able to be called upon as individual rather than being masked as a certain population that affords discrimination. Student voices need to be heard before we can begin to feel we are on the right road toward fair and inclusive treatment of POC and society as a whole.


© Thom Amundsen 6/2020

Hearing Voices

They are not loud,

in fact,

whispers that catch me,

wondering where.

They are in my head,

reminders

of why it is that way I am

will be my forever.

I sometimes in the silence

can imagine window sills tremble,

the sky is falling

inside my mind.

I wonder if you might know,

this feeling

is more powerful than

anything I will ever know.

Know it is true,

Know it can never go away.

No, no, know.