Friday, January 15, 2010

BEST Response to "Did I MISS Anything?"

Hello Friends,

It's 5:00 P.M. on Friday, and I've composed 15, yes 15, posts. I'm a little tired, so I'm closing out this work week with one of my favorite "teacher" poems. It lists a number of responses to that age-old question, "Did I Miss Anything?" Enjoy.

Did I miss anything?

Nothing. When we realized you weren't here
we sat with our hands folded on our desks
in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth
40 percent of the grade for this term
and assigned some reading due today
on which I'm about to hand out a quiz
worth 50 percent.

Nothing. None of the content of this course
has value or meaning
Take as many days off as you like:
any activities we undertake as a class
I assure you will not matter either to you or me
and are without purpose

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time
a shaft of light suddenly descended and an angel
or other heavenly being appeared
and revealed to us what each woman or man must do
to attain divine wisdom in this life and
the hereafter
This is the last time the class will meet
before we disperse to bring the good news to all people
on earth

Nothing. When you are not present
how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom
is a microcosm of human experience
assembled for you to query and examine and ponder
This is not the only place such an opportunity has been gathered
but it was one place
And you weren't here.
by Tom Wayman, Poetry 180. Billy Collins Ed. Random House 2003


Joe said...

I love this poem! It's been one of my favorites since I found it a few years ago. I usually just tell the kids that since the class noticed he/she was gone, we took a last-minute field trip to Wendy's or the movies or something. It's hilarious how many believe me.

Cat said...

That is great!

I love it, thank you!