For the next three weeks, instead of teaching Joyce’s Dubliners in Rosa’s Lit class, I’m going to teach Hopkins, Yeats, and Heaney.  This is a blessed change, and there is much rejoicing.  Having never read Dubliners, I’m unqualified to say anything on the subject except “Dubliners” and “Joyce,” but I am mostly qualified to say that these three poets, spanning Victorian and Modern poetry, taking traditional forms & a brilliant creativity and coaxing strange and beautiful new life from them, setting real toads in imaginary gardens, have expanded the consciousness of (if we’re honest) the world.

It’s sobering, being the one to introduce my budding artist/poet little sister to poems like “The Windhover,” “The Leaden Echo and the Golden Echo,” “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” “The Second Coming,” and “Punishment.”   These are poems the world needs, and I get to be part of this.

I even get to define words like alliteration and onomatopoeia, and teach her the vocabulary for describing poetic forms.  I know I sound like a lunatic, but she has a vividly creative consciousness that will touch her community and the world someday.  And today, I sat in the window of Starbucks with her and handed her her graded short story, lectured on Hopkins and the Oxford Movement, made her write down the definition of assonance.

There are so many things to be immensely grateful for, cables of power pulsing underground and showing up in showers of sparks at the first shove of the shovel into the soil.

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