Saturday, February 12, 2011

Geography Lesson by Brian Patten

Our teacher told us one day he would leave
And sail across a warm blue sea
To places he had only known from maps,
And all his life had longed to be.

The house he lived in was narrow and grey
But in his mind's eye he could see
Sweet-scented jasmine clinging to the walls,
And green leaves burning on an orange tree.

He spoke of the lands he longed to visit,
Where it was never drab or cold.
I couldn't understand why he never left,
And shook off the school`s stranglehold.

Then halfway through his final term
He took ill and never returned.
He never got to that place on the map
Where the green leaves of the orange trees burned.

The maps were redrawn on the classroom wall;
His name forgotten, he faded away.
But a lesson he never knew he taught
Is with me to this day.

I travel to where the green leaves burn,
To where the ocean's glass-clear and blue,
To places our teacher taught me to love-
And which he never knew.

1 comment:

  1. - Poetry Archive recording

    - Choose key phrases from the poem and put them on separate slips of paper. Students each take a slip of paper, and are given some time to think up all the associations and meanings to do with their given phrase. Then they go around the classroom, talking to one other person at any one time. Slowly they speculate on what the poem is about, and piece together a narrative.

    - Give students the full poem without the last stanza. Check for understanding - what is the lesson that this teacher has taught the speaker?