Finding Poems for My Students – Mohja Kahf
(from E-mails from Scheherazad 2003)
O my students,
I scour the world of words
to bring you poems like the rocks
my girls dig up in riverbanks
and come running to show me
because the notches in them
say something true, something
that an ancient Wisdom
wanted us to see.
I run to you, pockets full of poems.
I select: This poem will help you pass a test.
Here is one that is no help at all,
but it is beautiful; take it, take it.
O my scroungers after merely passing grades,
I bring you poem I have hiked high
and far to find, knowing
they will mostly end up like the rocks
my daughters find, tossed in drawers
with old batteries, mislaid keys,
scraps bearing the addresses
of people whose names
you no longer recognize or need.
Your current glazed-eye indifference
doesn’t bother me. One day,
when you are either cleaning house
or moving (and sooner or later
everyone must do one or the other),
you will shake the drawer and the poem
will fall out. And may the poem be for you
the one phone number in the universe
you were looking for, and may it be
for you the mislaid key
to your greatest need.
On that day,
you will read.
Essays about Teaching Poems
John Clare Looks Good in a Dishdash: Linking John Clare to Middle Eastern Poetry
Marlowe in Salalah: Making English Poetry Relevant – 2008
Teaching Literature and Staying au courant – The Man from Nowhere and the Ancient Greeks
Foodways and Literature – Food Stories and Poems
Foodways and Literature – Animal Poems
Teaching Paired Literary Texts
Translating Western Conceptions of “Nature” to the Middle East – 2009
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