I watch my students
click and decide
if I am a good teacher.
My voice is now silent,
so I try to stir them using only my mind
(but I don’t see anything happening).
I think about what I did
and what I didn’t
and wish I had a few do-overs
until my aching head
reminds me what a bad idea
that would be.
So I tell myself
“It’ll be alright–
or if not, it doesn’t matter (eternally).”
I don’t really listen to myself
any better than my students do.
So it comes down to the fruits of a thousand hours,
being placed in four bins to produce one number.
Pretty coarsely-weighed for so dear a harvest.
restoration by Coda Shetterly (@KindredCoda)
As seen on Boing Boing!
I’ve exchanged some iTunes plastic (from Santa) for some excellent music that I’m really enjoying. Here’s a brief rundown of what’s playing in my house, car and head these days.
The Head and the Heart (The Head and the Heart album)
These guys play smart, rootsy alt folk (or something like that). I had heard of them but had somehow missed listening to them. I like how they still sound like musicians, not overly-precious, cleaned-up bits.
John Ellis and Double Wide (Puppet Mischief album) – These guys really swing. John Ellis is a great tenor saxophonist, but the sousaphone player (Matt Perrine) is what really drives them. I’d love to see these guys play live.
Mumford & Sons (Babel album) I know how late I am to this party, but this is good music that makes me think.
Philip Glass (Metamorphosis: 1-5) The minimalist giant playing his best piano pieces.
David Byrne & St. Vincent (Love this Giant album) Two unique musicians collaborating to make surprising and wonderful music. I hear new things each time I listen.
Chilly Gonzales (Solo Piano 2) I saved the best for last. If you like playing the piano or just listening to piano music, then this is what you are looking for. I hear echoes of Ernesto Nazareth, Eric Satie, Philip Glass and the Terra Verde composers David Thomas Roberts and Scott Kirby. These are the kind of quality, uncategorizable pieces the world needs more of.
The Census Dotmap by Brandon Martin-Anderson is pretty amazing when you think about it — it gives each of us who live in the United States (all 311,591,917 of us) a dot right where we live.
[painting by Susan Goldsmith — see her work here]
dot the tree’s black skeleton
a lifetime of moons
O saints, if I am even eligible for this prayer,
though less than worthy of this dear desire,
and if your prayers have influence in Heaven,
let my place there be lower than your own.
I know how you longed, here where you lived
as exiles, for the presence of the essential
Being and Maker and Knower of all things.
But because of my unruliness, or some erring
virtue in me never rightly schooled,
some error clear and dear, my life
has not taught me your desire for flight:
dismattered, pure, and free. I long
instead for the Heaven of creatures, of seasons,
of day and night. Heaven enough for me
would be this world as I know it, but redeemed
of our abuse of it and one another. It would be
the Heaven of knowing again. There is no marrying
in Heaven, and I submit; even so, I would like
to know my wife again, both of us young again,
and I remembering always how I loved her
when she was old. I would like to know
my children again, all my family, all my dear ones,
to see, to hear, to hold, more carefully
than before, to study them lingeringly as one
studies old verses, committing them to heart
forever. I would like again to know my friends,
my old companions, men and women, horses
and dogs, in all the ages of our lives, here
in this place that I have watched over all my life
in all its moods and seasons, never enough.
I will be leaving how many beauties overlooked?
A painful Heaven this would be, for I would know
by it how far I have fallen short. I have not
paid enough attention, I have not been grateful
enough. And yet this pain would be the measure
of my love. In eternity’s once and now, pain would
place me surely in the Heaven of my earthly love.
— Wendell Berry, from ‘Leavings’
This is the wonderful poem that was read before this year’s Jefferson Lecture at the National Endowment for the Humanities by Wendell Berry. I first read the text of his lecture and then watched a video of it. It is remarkable. Berry is the prophet of our time. He warms my heart and chills my spine at the same time.