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They Follow Me
Ginny Lowe Connors

Even here, even now, a Sunday morning at the lake—
in the ten thousand points of fiery light
jumping up and down on the unstill water, uncatchable,
mesmerizing, various, all the small elf lights making one
field of scintillating light—my students suddenly appear:
restless, chattery, overflowing with bluster
or timidly emitting that inner glow so mysterious,
untouchable and luminous that it keeps me returning
again and again to their exhausting world—
near-adolescents packed like a drawerful of mismatched socks
into a single classroom.I run away. Close my eyes,
open them in a new place—discover I've been followed.
Sun’s got the whole lake dancing with light
but only part of me can attend. The classroom
won’t let go. Even kids who will be plain one day
are beautiful now as they change daily, becoming
themselves as they try on new ways of being.
Every day they look toward me, expecting something.
I pour myself into the classroom and then—retreat.
Weekends I think water, I think trees, escape.
The young are on their way to somewhere else.
I want simply to wave them on their way
but they say no, they drive right through me,
marking me with tire tracks, leaving me panting,
breathing in their exuberant exhaust.
by Ginny Lowe Connors.
Used with the author’s permission.

Ginny Lowe Connors is an English teacher in West Hartford, Connecticut. The author of the collectionsThe Unparalleled Beauty of a Crooked Line(Antrim House Books, 2012) andBarbarians in the Kitchen(Antrim House Books, 2005), a chapbook,Under the Porch(Hill-Stead Museum, 2010), and editor of several poetry collections, she's won numerous awards for her poetry, includingAtlanta Review?sInternational Poetry Competition Prize and the 2010 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. She runs a small poetry press called Grayson Books. Learn more about Ginny at

Post New Comment:
'the young are on their way to somewhere else'....I will long remember this "simple-sounding" phrase, especially when I look at my grandchildren. How wise you are; thank you ~ Judy
Posted 05/21/2013 10:40 AM
janet peatross:
I, too, spent the majority of my English teaching career catching "the exuberant exhaust". How lovely.
Posted 05/19/2013 06:23 PM
I especially loved,packed like a drawerful of mismatched socks" and the last three lines. Russ
Posted 05/19/2013 01:44 PM
This is so good. Thanks.
Posted 05/19/2013 12:51 PM
A poem that begs to be read and re-read. The last 3 lines are especially striking--a fresh way of making your point! Phyllis
Posted 05/19/2013 11:44 AM
They see another beauty, dance to another drum beat. No one can control the spirit of my reflections either.
Posted 05/19/2013 11:26 AM
Janet Leahy:
A drawer full of mismatched socks in a single classroom, that is the beauty and challenge of the art of teaching. Lovely poem, thanks Ginny.
Posted 05/19/2013 09:25 AM
Wonderful and true!
Posted 05/19/2013 08:09 AM
Posted 05/19/2013 07:36 AM
Nabby Dog:
When someone asks me why I became a teacher I will show them this poem.
Posted 05/19/2013 06:33 AM
Ginny, you have so perfectly captured what it is to be a teacher -- the way the classroom and the children never let us go no matter how much we want/need a break from them. And that pull that keeps us going back to our draining, exhausting (love those last lines!!) work.
Posted 05/19/2013 04:56 AM

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