Friday, February 23, 2018

Poem for a Music Teacher

Hello and Happy Poetry Friday! Be sure to visit Liz at Elizabeth Steinglass for Roundup.

I've been having one of those weeks where I feel like I've been running behind and running behind and running behind... lots going on in my writing life, which is lovely and inspiring, but also has me a little bit frazzled!

Anyhow, this too shall pass.

If you haven't added your Golden Shovel to my roundup of Golden Shovel poems, please do!

Also, check out this thoughtful, lovely write-up about CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? over at A Fuse 8 Production, by Betsy Bird. We are all learning, aren't we?

And here is my offering for today: a poem for a music teacher as it appears in SCHOOL PEOPLE, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illus. by Ellen Shi, brought to us by the fine poetry-loving folks at WordSong/Boyds Mills Press.

This was my first LBH anthology to be included in - what an honor and thrill! I was especially excited when Lee told me my assignment was "music teacher." As many of you know, I actually HAVE a music teacher -- Laura Usiskin, who's an amazing cellist and teacher. I'm so grateful to be working with her!

AND I've had music teachers pretty much my whole life, what with the dozen or so years I took piano and the handful of years I was in choir... and the years my kids took piano and cello and percussion... and then, yes, surely, school music teachers, thought they are not quite clear in my mind.... my school memories are a bit of a blur because there were SO MANY SCHOOLS. (11 by the time I was 14! Thanks to my family moving so frequently.)

Anyhow, for me, music is JOY, and all the music teachers Ido remember have embodied that joy -- so I knew I wanted joy in my poem.

I'm not sure where the "rain" came from, though it IS the best music... or how I linked this poem with "She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron, but that's what happened. There's also a nod to Phantom of the Opera in there, which Lee caught right away. :)

Music Teacher
by Irene Latham

She walks in music, like morning rain:
drip-drop, pitter-patter, boot-stomp, splash!

And all that's best of noise and silence
meet in her flash-flood smile.

She doesn't say Hush or Stop or No-
she says, Yes! Louder! Sing, my angels, sing!

And so our hearts overflow,
symphonies river from our lips.

We walk in music like morning rain:
drip-drop, pitter-patter, boot-stomp, splash!


Thank you for reading! If you have a music teacher, do some boot-stomping and splashing with him or her today! xo


  1. Love the poem, Irene. My favorite part is "symphonies river from our lips"! Your discussion about music teachers brought back fond memories of piano lessons and playing with the choir. Congrats on being included in School People!

  2. Love your "Music Teacher"! I must share it with a dear friend--a music teacher. My favorite: "And all that's best of noise and silence / meet in her flash-flood smile."

  3. So lovely. How perfect that you wrote the music teacher poem. I agree with Jama. I love symphonies river from our lips. I like the way you carry the metaphor through the poem in all its different variations. Congratulations on all your success!

  4. Oh, my goodness....that poem is exquisite. I love it. And, I'm going to share it with my music teacher friend right now. She walks in music. So perfect.

  5. I have some music teachers in my family and love this about them and others I've loved through the years. Beautiful, Irene!

  6. Wonderful poem, Irene--such perfects sounds, rhythm, and celebration for a music teacher!

  7. Love that line, "Symphonies river from our lips." What I want to keep learning from you is the surprise connection of words to feelings. This is so spot on. I've been in choirs all my life. I've rained many rivers of words. Oh, wait, I like that line. Thanks for including me and my students in your Golden Shovel collection. I enjoyed going back to them.

  8. Love your poem Irene, especially "We walk in music like morning rain." lovely. I'm having some very full days and weeks too, thank goodness we have to sleep every once in a while. Hope it slows down a bit!

  9. What a fun poem! And so timely for us here in the Midwest after a long week of music provided by rain and more rain! The sun is out, but the creeks and rivers are still gurgling and babbling and raging.

  10. THANK you for this post. Thank you for your "Music Teacher".


Your thoughts?