Donna DeLeo Bruno
Ft. Lauderdale Branch
I stand before my teenage students
Speaking of Homer’s “Odyssey,”
Of Penelope, Ulysses’ faithful and long-suffering wife
Who waited twenty years for reunion with her husband.
Before me sit kids who fall in and out of love each week.
I laud “The Bard”
Shakespeare and his masterpieces.
The boys see only the curvaceous “masterpiece”
Of the svelte but buxom female blond
Who floats across the room.
I speak of poets
Byron, Shelley, Keats.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
They nod approvingly
As the same female student
Demonstrates “poetry in motion” in her walk.
“Remember John Donne
who wrote ‘No man is an island unto himself’?”
And with that quote, they recall the hijinks
Of last week’s boozy island beach party
With bombed-out babes.
Do I “cast pearls before swine”? I wonder.
The bell rings — class ends.
A student approaches and requests that I peruse his poems.
I take them home; that night I read them.
Can it be that this sleepy-eyed, tattooed boy
Has actually “heard” me?
He writes of “a thing of beauty”–
The Statue of Liberty that welcomed him from a distant land
Ruled by some “MacBeth-like” tyrant — ruthless and ambitious.
And identified with “No man is an island”
When a church group sheltered his family
And led him to this place
Where in due time, he plans to “march to his own drummer.”
And so my teacher’s “heart leaps up
when I behold” not Wordsworth’s “rainbow in the sky”
But rather one student
With whom these works have resonated,
Words that will be woven
Into the “masterpiece” tapestry of a life.