I think a love poem might be in order today ... this one mainly about my eighth-grade teacher, who stirred an abiding interest in reading in me.
But it's also about the librarian I met at another time, in another town, as a result of my interest in reading.
That librarian and I are still sharing a mutual interest in reading, and she is the one who listens patiently to the things I've written.
But, getting back to the main thread of the poem: I was so glad when I was able to visit my former teacher, Miss Pearl, a few years ago, to thank her for imparting her love for reading ... and to introduce her to that librarian, my wife, Phyllis.
MY THREE LOVES
Could Miss Pearl have known
that her own love of reading
would so transform the life
of a hungering eighth grader
whom her gentle, healing voice
touched with daily readings?
Fragile fingers softly turning
the pages of her beloved books,
she made visions of mere words,
openings to worlds where people
could dream, hope, and achieve.
These, she told us, were worlds
where we, too, might go, in fact,
belonged. Did she know, or did she
merely dream the teacher's dream
that the tiny seeds might endure,
take root, flower? Did she know
that her devoted love of reading
would become my own, eventually
leading me to that certain library
where I would find you? How else
could she have sustained herself
through those despairing years?
Questions still seek answers,
but of this I'm sure: Her gift,
so freely given, became more dear
than I, or even she, ever dreamed.
(originally published in Capper's)
Today's word: sustained