When I wrote the line “the next world will look exactly like this one” in the last post, a distant bell rang and in the way I feel invisible presences guiding, I remembered a poem with a similar line and more impressive yet, found it! And so in the light of critiquing our narrow view of education, what we think is important that isn’t so much, what keeps us in some bland middle ground where kids’ dynamic swingin’ jazz energy is daily tamped down and reduced to some common time muzak in 4/4, this poem speaks directly to these issues.
And speaking about these issues with prose is part of the problem— if teaching should be poetry, why, poetry should describe it. And so here is Bill Holm telling the deeper story. (And as someone who literally dances with kids playing the Bulgarian bagpipe, it resonates!)
Someone dancing inside us
Learned only a few steps:
The “Do-Your- Work” in 4/4 time,
The “What-Do-You-Expect” waltz.
He hasn’t noticed yet the woman
standing away from the lamp,
the one with black eyes
who knows the rhumba,
and strange steps in jumpy rhythms
from the mountains in Bulgaria.
If they dance together,
something unexpected will happen.
If they don’t, the next world
will be a lot like this one.
- Bill Holm