Lecturer (Pausing)–Poem

Do I teach to lend an ear (Samuel to God) or lend an eye (Saul to David)
obey or suspect, exhort or dehort, build or burn
I prophesy a new hearkening or
I chant the gassing of structures of air.

Chalk in hand I am poised to move on, to talk more
To ask questions whose answers I do not know but
Whose interrogation of myself I cannot resist, students wonder
But I cannot help asking:  I have time to fill
(Monday Wednesday Friday at 2—post meridian)
And I have to fill time—bruise eternity but leave it living.

If you cannot cover a question with words
You let it ask you too much

Out of what dustbin of mine draw I fresh water
Out of what fancy of mine produce I plain help
To insist on the difference between me and them:
Me, not young but clever
Them, not clever but young:
Insisting on this would be wrong, but worse treats an accident
As fated, as if learning weighed a few ounces
In the balance of a New Testament.

Simple faith simply is the only faith there is
And whatever tincture of complication or sophistication
Enters into it denates it completely, even if it seems natural still
Students wonder faithfully and I am finical over that faith
Fearful that I only complicate or sophisticate, sophists’ accomplice.

To teach is to unlearn, forget, desert
What I have it in me to teach
I do not know, I know, I do not know
But known ignorance is not my Socratic crux
Not my particular poison.

“M’occorreva il coltello che recide
La mente che decide e si determina

 I dust chalky hands against pants and worry
Students wander at their desks
Chalk in hand I am poised to move on.

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