{poetry friday: #marvelousmarylee}

My favorite people tend to be teachers. For whatever reason, they make me comfortable. I still internally identify as a teacher, though by the time I met one of my favorite teachers, Mary Lee Hahn, in person in 2010, I hadn’t been teaching at all, not even subbing, for three years. With her calm, comfortable personality, and innate Teacher-ness, Mary Lee became an instant member of my family – especially as she shares a name with one of my most popular book characters.

Especially over the past couple of years, I’ve enjoyed Mary Lee’s teaching through eavesdropping via what she’s shared on her blog or on her Twitter feed. Both the writing assignments she’s done with her students and the reading she’s done on bias and anti-racism and how they can warp a child’s education showed Mary Lee as a truly wise, generous and effective educator, working on honing her own awareness of what her students needed so that they could, in turn, go out and be what the world needs. I can’t go back in time to be one of her students or one of her colleagues, but I’m proud to be one of her friends. Cousin Mary Lee, congratulations on your retirement.

wave and water, fish and sea
cycles all of destiny
as the cloud becomes sea spray
each has their own part to play.

Little streamlets bubbling on
soon become the Amazon
Every stream then finds the sea
learns to flow forth naturally.

River’s tumble is well-known
fisherwoman turns for home
after all the tumbling roar
such relief to turn for shore

wide, the sea goes roiling free
plunging outward now, carefree
clouds emerge from shifting wave
mist the water must now brave –

Fisherwoman home has brought
memories of each fish, well caught
then released to live their days
flashing through the waterways

wave and water, fish and sea
cycles all of destiny
fish and fisher played their part
teaching, learning, works of heart.

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Christine at Wondering & Wandering. Lots more poetry and raised glasses to Mary Lee there!

13 Replies to “{poetry friday: #marvelousmarylee}”

  1. Cousin T, I am honored! Thank you for this beautiful poem! I love all the cycles — water, waves, teaching, learning, life. This retirement gig is such a combination of beginning + ending. Another cycle: work and rest. (*breaks into song* “To everything, turn, turn, turn…”)

  2. There’s so much heart in this post, Tanita! Love the photo and your thoughtful intro, and then thinking of Mary Lee as I read your poem—the last two stanzas especially—I can’t help but smile. All the many fish flashing through the waterways thanks to the fisherwoman’s caring capture and release. Yep, teachers are some of my favorite people too.

  3. Tanita, beautiful poem and tribute to Mary Lee. I delighted in your rhythm and rhyme. I enjoyed reading your poem aloud.

    “River’s tumble is well-known
    fisherwoman turns for home”

    I’m sure Mary Lee will love this. I love the photo of you two, as well.

  4. Your poem, of ‘heart’, also ‘artful’, Tanita, begs to be read aloud, a lullaby for Mary Lee! I love the ending, and that “then released to live their days
    flashing through the waterways” – yes, the journey for Mary Lee’s students, too. Beautiful!

  5. Oh, my goodness, I love the rhythm, roll, and wave of your poem. Perfection. What a lovely tribute to Mary Lee, too, and all that your years together, on the internet, and at least once in person, have meant.

    That’s a great photo of two people I hope to meet in person one day. xo

  6. Love love love your poem!! Beautiful, lyrical, and moving. You nailed the extended metaphor. Also love your heartfelt description of ML as a teacher and that wonderful photo of you two!!

  7. Same here…I usually have trouble successfully commenting here. But, I made it?! I hope?

    I love water imagery in this poem and tribute. From mighty things like clouds to water droplets of sea spray and the connection to the Amazon. I’m learning more and more about Mary Lee as a fisherwoman. So much fun–this retirement party!

  8. Tanita, this poems so gorgeous in it’s chant-like rhythm, it sounds like a mystical incantation, so moving, and so perfect for Mary Lee. Love the background you placed it on too, and this line and image,
    “fisherwoman turns for home”
    Thanks! 😉

  9. I always have such troubles posting to your blog, Tanita… But I’m wondering if today is looking hopeful? I hope so! I loved reading your words about Mary Lee – and seeing your photo! And your fisherwoman poem – words, layout and presentation – is exquisite. (Now hoping this comment posts!)

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