What The Teacher Doesn't Tell

What the Teacher Doesn’t Tell

They wouldn’t understand.
Who would want to burden the subject by including the depth of their own despair and their feeble attempts to counter it?
History shouldn’t be about me, or them, or anyone alive today,
Except it is and inescapably so.
The big black dog that trotted beside Lincoln trots today.
Galileo and Bruno and every one of true genius,
Their anxiety still floats free,
attaching itself intermittently to those so blessed with that curse.

We’ve stopped burning these people at the stake,
excusing them from the faculty instead.
The truly beautiful minds disgust us with their compulsion and their willful inability to be even a little bit normal.
They shock us with our own conventions, and that’s unfair.

We’re not St Francis.
We’re barely fool enough to draw a paycheck, sometimes.
And barely competent to teach the obvious,
understanding that the obvious gets under foot, in everybody’s way.

What the teacher doesn’t tell yells out from him anyway.
Most hear it clearly without acknowledging anything to themselves.
Most carry this knowledge like they carry their liver or their heart,
Unaware until some trouble arrives to bring attention where none could otherwise thrive.
And then the learning clicks.
We take a quiet moment and realize that our lives continue the lives before us,
And that those who follow after us will experience the same realization
When they become a part of the history they studied, and taught, and lived.

Call for the straight jacket now.
These acknowledgements are insanity to hold,
And insanity to disclose,
And yet an essential piece of every sane one.
How could the teacher ever tell?
How could the teacher help but tell?

What the teacher doesn’t tell doesn’t need telling.
It finds its own path into the future,
like it did with you
and me
and, will most certainly, pass to those sitting before you today.

David Schmaltz
2/09/03


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