Tag Archives: canto

Teach Your Children: canzone

Canto I.

To educate for revolution’s sake
requires a willingness for martyrdom,
the sense to learn from every small mistake,
and fortitude enough to take what comes
when nay-saying begins; and start it will,
the moment you step from the comfort zone
where history and status quo lie still.
The one who makes the change, makes it alone.

To teach in such a way, one draws from life;
here, leading by example is a must.
Without at least some evidence of strife
you’ll never gain a single student’s trust.
Each lesson is a battle for the will,
to gain an inch of ground against a world
that teaches, at its core, how best to kill
the oyster, for the sake of some small pearl.

If you would learn from teachers such as these,
first empty out the vessel that you bear;
relinquish all desire or need to please,
and first and foremost, decide that you care.
Once that commitment’s made, the lesson starts:
no homework, no “pop” essays are required,
no slogans or mnemonics learned by heart,
except “to be inspiring, be inspired.”

Canto II.

The truth is never taught to us in schools;
what good is knowing why a thing is so?
Much better to accept the way it is,
than to upset the known, the status quo,
in vain attempts to try and understand
some purpose beyond doing what you’re told.
Shut up, keep to yourself, and mind your tongue:
the best way to survive and to grow old.

Beyond the simple texts we learn by rote,
the facts we’re told are sacred and pristine,
we fall and yet imagine that we float
above a ground far down below, unseen.
There is no golden parachute, my friends;
believe in what you will, to no avail:
no paradise lies up beyond the bend,
the gears will stop, the power will soon fail.

When learning stops, who still admits to teach?
Who, once they know it all, says “I don’t know”?
What good to grasp in space beyond your reach
if what is underfoot you can’t let go?
The time spent cultivating self-esteem,
instead of just performing worthy acts
can never be returned; you can’t reclaim
a pointless life by coloring the facts.

Canto III.

Break down the doors, release these fettered minds!
Let love of beauty rule each student’s heart.
Who knows what new advances they may find,
when nurtured with some kindness from the start?
For truth, though sometimes bitter, does not kill;
reality is harsh, but bears no ill.

Break down the walls of that familiar box
we reinforce with history and fear.
Let go of petty cowardice; unlock
the upper reaches of the atmosphere,
where muffled by a misspent sense of pride
the dreams of humankind are waiting still;
the future can be ours, if we decide
to say, not can’t or won’t, but shout, “I will!”

Break off these chains that bind us to the past,
to staid traditions of no further use;
in truth, they were not ever meant to last.
Let stale ideas suffer disabuse!

Commiato.

Disruption and upheaval cannot be
the means by which the world is made anew.
By violence, nothing ever is made free;
it simply tilts the scales, always askew,
toward a slightly different fulcrum point.
No measure of success is ever found
in wanton, mad destruction. We annoint
new martyrs when each century comes round,

and sacrifice to progress our ideals.
We spend long hours in pointless, wild debate,
believing that reform, a fresh appeal,
will somehow, save us from ourselves, our fate.

What would you teach, if you no longer learn?
What would you learn, if you know everything?
The tune that Nero played on, as Rome burned?
Together, or apart, we all will swing.

26 NOV 2010

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