Each of us has a voice that is unique to our experience. Sometimes we feel the strong need to add our voice to the fray. At other times we feel like our voice will take away from the voice of others, or that it is too small to make a difference. However, after much thought and prayers, my voice has something to say.
I work as a substitute teacher. I primarily work in elementary schools but I also go to the middle and high schools. I have been doing this work for many years; therefore, I have seen and heard a lot. After every major event in the country, the kids feel it and react. We all feel it. No one is immune. However, I continue to go to work, as do so many other teachers, secretaries, and all the other adults that work in the school buildings. Our children continue to go to school.
We have heard the voices of our young people. They are scared and scarred. Yet, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t also.
Just days after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, I was substituting at my local high school. As soon as I arrived, they assigned me to front hall duty for Lunch A. The front hall is a wide vestibule of glass doors and windows. Although the doors are locked I was fully exposed. I was on heightened alert due to recent events with nowhere to hide should something happen.
When I arrived, I noticed extra buses in the parking lot but didn’t know why they were there. I soon learned that the school was hosting a countywide choral festival; every middle and high school chorus from the entire county was there. They were there to sing and be evaluated by top judges.
It was wonderful to see so much positive energy from our young people, such beautiful voices. May all our children learn to sing together in harmony and heal the world.
Another High School
On the front lines
No distinction drawn
A wall of windows
Offers no protection
Stationed by the glass doors
I must not fear
There is a reason I am here
Always a purpose
An unwavering stance
My heart and soul
Flood with fierce love
For each one
Today they come
Armed in chorus of voices
Let these be the only weapons
That ring out in our school halls
2/26/18 Copyright and all rights reserved
When the world seems crazy and out of control our best defense is to lift our voices in hope, in peace, in prayer, and in song.
Sending love and healing out to all,
Postscript: I submitted this poem to Connections, a wonderful publication in the spring of 2018. The editors emailed me and said they wanted to publish it but didn’t have room in the spring edition. I emailed back and told them that I thought that the subject of the poem was so timely that they should reconsider finding room for it in the spring edition. However, they did not.
I reached out to them in fall 2018 to see if they still wanted to publish the poem and let them know that I had written a blog post. They did and it was published. I wish I could have had the chance to dedicate the poem, on page 49, to all of the young people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida and to the wonderful students who I have the chance to work with here at Calvert County, Maryland, with a big shout out to Patuxent High School where I was subbing that day. Well, at least I got the chance to do it here. Thank you all of you wonderful young people.