Home Sweet Home

9.2013You found me!  I am Alexandra Fletcher, and this is my website — everybody is welcome of course, but this is mostly school talk.


First, some important perspective.  Be sure to look at NASA’s photo of the day, every day.  And have you been watching the new Cosmos?  The fact that we are all here is mysterious and wonderful, and our time is fleeting — there is “much to be learned” and not a moment to waste.

(You’re intricate.  You’re supple.)

Two poems for the beginning of another school year:

September, the First Day of School

Howard Nemerov

My child and I hold hands on the way to school,
And when I leave him at the first grade door
He cries a little but is brave, he does
Let go. My selfish tears remind me how
I cried before that door a life ago
I may have had a hard time letting go.

Each fall the children must endure together
What every child also endures alone:
Learning the alphabet, the integers,
Three dozen bits and pieces of a stuff
So arbitrary, so peremptory,
That worlds invisible and visible

Bow down before it, as in Joseph’s dream
The sheaves bowed down and then the stars bowed down
Before the dreaming little boy.
That dream got him such hatred of his brothers
As cost the greater part of life to mend,
And yet great kindness came of it in the end.

A school is where they grind the grain of thought
And grind the children who must mind the thought
It may be those two grindings are but one,
As from the alphabet come Shakespeare’s plays,
As from the integers comes Euler’s Law,
As from the whole, inseparably, the lives,

The shrunken lives that have not been set free
By law or by poetic phantasy,
But may they be. My child has disappeared
Behind the schoolroom door. And should I live
To see his coming forth, a life away,
I know my hope, but do not know its form

Nor hope to know it. May the fathers he finds
Among his teachers have a care of him
More than his father could. How that will look
I do not know, I do not need to know.
Even our tears belong to ritual,
But may great kindness come of it in the end.


And this one:

On Education

Elizabeth Bentley (1789)

When infant Reason first exerts her sway,
And new-formed thoughts their earliest charms display;
Then let the growing race employ your care
Then guard their opening minds from Folly’s snare;
Correct the rising passions of their youth,
Teach them each serious, each important truth;
Plant heavenly virtue in the tender breast,
Destroy each vice that might its growth molest;
Point out betimes the course they should pursue;
Then with redoubled pleasure shall you view
Their reason strengthen as their years increase,
Their virtue ripen and their follies cease;
Like corn sown early in the fertile soil,
The richest harvest shall repay your toil.




(Click here for more poetry)

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