he explains the etymology behind every word;
laconic doesn’t just mean succinct,
the inhabitants of Laconia, Greece were known to speak tersely.
Cashmere is not only a soft, luxurious fabric, but also
a quality export of the Indian Kashmir.
Old enough to be my grandpa, but still drops phrases like
the “urge to merge.”
He places all details in perspective,
questioning why, why, why.
Our reasoning, like an eagle,
does not belong in a cage
it is meant to fly, fly, fly.
He fosters, does not hinder, curiosity and psychological exploration;
He feeds on creativity.
Crafting the bridge between literature and life,
between learning and living,
they call him the SAT guru.
The students call them tangents and rants,
I see only impromptu life lessons.
The diverge in topic leads to an unrehearsed monologue,
course in language, raw in thought,
striking in truth.
Revealing that limits are only a state of mind,
that Thoreau means it when he says
a search through nature will lead you to yourself.
To call him the English teacher would be like
calling the sky blue
when it is deep and black and infinite in proportion
and I think of infinite knowledge and sagacity when I think of you.
[a relevant poem by Taylor Mali, What Teachers Make]