Writer’s Almanac

by Lisa Donovan

For years I have listened to Writer’s Almanac on NPR. Today, as I dropped my son off at school, I remembered a particularly striking poem that was featured on one of their segments. It appeared in my life right around the same time certain people in our lives (mostly our well intentioned family who have always had stability and a standard structure to their livlihood) were nothing short of terrified about how we were surviving. Both my husband and I are artists and we really traipsed through the “starving artist” bit for about a year — truthfully, we are just pulling out of it. When I heard this poem, though, I wanted all the world to be hearing it with me.

Poem: “You Go to School to Learn” by Thomas Lux from New & Selected Poems © Houghton Mifflin.

You Go to School to Learn

You go to school to learn to
read and add, to someday
make some money. It—money—makes
sense: you need
a better tractor, an addition
to the gameroom, you prefer
to buy your beancurd by the barrel.
There’s no other way to get the goods
you need. Besides, it keeps people busy
working—for it.
It’s sensible and, therefore, you go
to school to learn (and the teacher,
having learned, gets paid to teach you) how
to get it. Fine. But:
you’re taught away from poetry
or, say, dancing (That’s nice, dear,
but there’s no dough in it). No poem
ever bought a hamburger, or not too many. It’s true,
and so, every morning—it’s still dark!—
you see them, the children, like angels
being marched off to execution,
or banks. Their bodies luminous
in headlights. Going to school.

Share and Enjoy:These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • blinkbits
  • BlinkList
  • blogmarks
  • co.mments
  • connotea
  • del.icio.us
  • De.lirio.us
  • digg
  • Fark
  • feedmelinks
  • Furl
  • LinkaGoGo
  • Ma.gnolia
  • NewsVine
  • Netvouz
  • RawSugar
  • Reddit
  • scuttle
  • Shadows
  • Simpy
  • Smarking
  • Spurl
  • TailRank
  • Wists
  • YahooMyWeb

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2006 at 11:06 am and is filed under Daily Living. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

WordPress database error: [Table './family_wordpress/wp_comments' is marked as crashed and should be repaired]
SELECT * FROM wp_comments WHERE comment_post_ID = '291' AND comment_approved = '1' ORDER BY comment_date

Leave a Reply