Poetry Friday: Joyce Sidman

The day before the winter break is filled with tension.  Teachers are tired, and every possible way of exciting kids is present. There are no routines. Weather is wet and windy. It is the perfect recipe for a bit crazy.

Some kids can’t wait for the vacation, the sleeping in, the time to laze around.

But for some kids, three weeks away from the predictability of school puts them into a panic. They act out. Today that tension of being home full time walked into my room and let loose. Fear flew and ricocheted off kids who got in the way.  Before you knew it, what seemed like a day to book shop, exchange candy, and finish a read aloud, turned into something entirely different. Anger exploded out of nowhere today, kids looked stunned. They had been working on getting along. But they weren’t. That angry belligerence was a symptom of deep pain.

For many kids, school is a safe zone. Leaving is hard and scary.  They are the ones that break my heart but at the same time bring me back with more. They are the reason I’m not tired anymore. Those kids are my kids.

At the end of the day, I sat, with the cricket that chirps in the corner and opened Joyce Sidman’s What the Heart Knows, Chants, Charms, and Blessings. I was looking for a salve for this day and found a blessing.

Blessing on the Downtrodden
Should you think we are strangers,
I will prove we are not.

Should you think you know me,
I will surprise you.

Should misfortune bind your wings,
I will fly before you to find us shelter.

Should your armor crack,
I will hold the pieces steady.

Should the crowd turn against you,
I will turn against the crowd.

Should hate mask your true face,
I will look into your eyes and read your story there.


finding true faces
infuse energy and hope
purpose reignites


Happy Poetry Friday! Thank you, Tabatha, for hosting at The Opposite of Indifference.




9 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Joyce Sidman

  1. Your students are blessed to have you as their teacher, to have you “fly before them” and “hold the pieces together,” to have you look into their eyes. May your holidays be a time of refreshing.

  2. “Fear flew and ricocheted off kids who got in the way.” What a vivid description! How lucky for your students that you knew exactly where to turn. Joyce Sidman’s poetry always soothes. I love that you channeled your energy and purpose into an inspiring haiku!

  3. You found the right poem in the right book at the right time (with a cricket singing to you!). Enjoy your three weeks, even though you know some of your friends are struggling with it.

  4. Those are the same kids who aren’t celebrating when summer break comes, too. I love that you found a poem that shows your feelings for these students, Julieanne. The book is a blessing for all of us in many ways. Enjoy your break, rejuvenating for the new year.

  5. These are the kids I teach too. Holidays and time away from school- routines, kind words, warmth, sometimes even food) are hard, and the days before vacation are always a little crazy. I love this book, and I love your choice of blessing. I love your haiku too, we are so blessed to have been gifted with the jobs we have- a way to make a difference in this dark world. Thanks for all you do for kids.

  6. You think you know how a day is going to go, and then it shoots off in another direction. How nice to have poetry to turn to when that happens. “purpose reignites” is beautiful.

  7. It is so sad when home isn’t a sanctuary, but a testing ground instead. A place of hurt and shame. School does take on a magic carpet ride to a place of safety then. The angry worry me, but the silent are just as at risk, I think. The ones who cannot express their words, for whom they are buried too deep… they worry me.

  8. I know I have this book somewhere, but I can’t find it. I can use some blessings this time of year. Love the one you found.

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