Friday, May 21, 2021

For Mary Lee

A good friend of mine is retiring at the end of this month after thirty-seven years of teaching. Mary Lee Hahn has made the difference in countless lives of students. There is no way to pay tribute to the impact of a teacher like Mary Lee, but I wanted to honor her nonetheless. To know Mary Lee is to know of her love of poetry. And while I bow to her ability with the written word, I thought I’d write a poem and share it on my blog today. For Mary Lee. For My son, Luke, who graduates this weekend. For the students who’ve shown up and done the work, day in, day out, during the most bizarre school year ever. And also, for the ones who haven’t, for whatever reason they have.

This poem is for all of them.

I see you.

Sitting on the stoop, 

Backpack packed,

Excitement strumming through your veins

Off to your first day of school.

I see you.

Mask on your face,

Uncertainty in your eyes.

Desks in rows

A room devoid of it’s personality

But you brought your own.

I see you.

Standing in front of a classroom

Staring at a computer screen

Attempting to connect to children

Wherever they are

With words, stories, and heart.

Wasn’t it you

Whose imagination took my breath away

Wasn’t it you

Who had stories spilling out of your head

Wasn’t it you

Who had love flowing out from every pore.

Six feet of space

Around us

Cannot stop the love

That surrounds us.

This year

Is not one that any would have imagined

Or asked for,

But it is what we’ve got.

And with it

A new community grew

And became more

Than we could have ever imagined.

It was more.



Congrats on an amazing teaching career, Mary Lee. You've always given more. Wishing you the best.