From a teacher on bearing children

Norm Walker

(Norm Walker published a book entitled "Teachers" in June, 2009: it is available on The proceeds go solely to a scholarship at Holderness School where Norm taught for 23 years. The poem is especially apropos for teachers at this time of year. Norm wrote it 37 years ago about a mentor colleague, Elizabeth Lee, at Newton High School in Newton, Mass. The poem is about the deep relationship between a teacher and the students during the year.)

Thrusting into my summer-stale September
Mind, bearing sun-burnt bodies in my room,
Smiling sweetly you proceed to eat me alive –
Like embryos chewing inside a mother’s womb,
In my swelling amniotic soul you thrive.
I love-hate you, my children, inspired
To devour me freely nine months of the year,
Growing large as I hang, until we’re tired
And finally break through together in fear.
Then you turn in the tenth month and madly
Suck the last of my strength; I do not grieve
As I grudgingly give to you gladly
Because, little cannibals, if you did not leave
Me lying in pain in June, I’d die in December.

September, 2009