Friday, March 13, 2009


This has been a long hard week. My 9-month-old lab puppy ate a dishtowel. So far, it has cost $4600 dollars to get the $1.29 dishtowel out of the dog's stomach. And the vet thinks I am a bad dog mother because I'm having a hard time working full time and parenting full time and putting compresses on the dog's incision four times a day and giving five kinds of medicine twice a day. And we have spent two weeks giving the state tests to our kids. And I have watched kids who only get to go to the zoo, which is about a mile from our school, a couple of times a year when we take them, struggle valiantly to understand passages about deep sea fishing and tap dancing lessons. And teachers who care enough to buy kids' clothes and give up Saturdays to take kids on outings weep because they are not good enough teachers to help kids understand passages about deep sea fishing and tap dance lessons. And I'm in charge of passing out the tests, and counting, and cleaning up, and bubbling. And every time I look at the books I feel like I am violating my soul. 

Weeks like this, I need poetry.  

Like Sarah Lewis Holmes' breathtaking "Annus Mirabilis."

Or Michael Blumenthal's "What I Believe," that MaryLee posted this morning.

And Kay Ryan's "Bad Day."

To remind me that tomorrow is another day. And there will be new dreams. And hopes. And miracles. 

Kay Ryan
Not every day
is a good day
for the elfin tailor.
Some days
the stolen cloth
reveals what it
was made for: 
a handsome weskit
or the jerkin
of an elfin sailor.

Read the rest of the poem here.



Yat-Yee said...

Sorry about your bad days. I feel for the puppy, the kids and the elf tailor too. I hope your great attitude to see you through. Tomorrow may well be your best day ever!

Jacqueline Dove said...

You made me want to sob/howl like a wolf,in a cathartic way because I have been finding life difficult in a completely different context, yet sad is sad the world over and the challenge I think is not to harden our hearts against it, as clearly you haven't.

Katie Dicesare said...

Gosh, I have felt this way too on bad days. What is it about poetry that soothes us and inspires us? Hoping tomorrow is better.

Mary Lee said...

Dear Good Dog Mother,
and Good Mother of Teen boys,
and Good Teacher and Literacy Coach,
and Good Friend,
and even Good Test Coordinator,

I am glad there are poems with which to lance our souls, and then to serve as the bowls with which to catch the pus that sometimes gathers there.

I know that your soul will emerge from this pestilent time clean and healthy and hopeful, but I wish I could be there to put compresses on it and give you five kinds of poetry medicine twice a day.

Kelly Polark said...

Oh, wow! That poor pup and your poor wallet! That is a lot of money!
I hope next week is much better!

Kelly Polark said...

Congrats, Carol! You won Dinothesaurus! Please email me your address at, and I'll send you the book!