Saturday, September 26, 2009


Last week's readwritepoem prompt was to write about ourselves in epic or exaggerated terms. Here is my ode to English teachers...

I don’t tilt at windmills,
I make the semicolon salient.
I don’t swing from vines,
I swoop in and save
dangling modifiers.
No mere Rapunzel in a tower,
I coax others to let down their hair
And weave it into a cogent argument.
I don’t ride through the village warning of danger,
I whip up a Wordsworthian warning
Of our getting and spending
And the world being too much with us.
My battle cry is not do or die
But be not afraid
Of Whitman
Or Dickinson:
Feel that cleaving in your brain and
Contain multitudes in it!
Know yourself to be nobody
And sing a song of yourself!
I am a sage for our age,
A patron saint of syntax,
A lion of lyricism,
A conqueror of commas gone wrong!
At every turn I offer wise counsel:
Avoid the cliché
Substantiate your generalizations
Cite your sources
Mix your metaphors wisely
And for God’s sake
Pluralize nouns
With apostrophes.


  1. Love the image to go along with the poem--teacher-warrior--isn't that who we are?

  2. Hear! Hear!
    Hurrah the unsung
    singers of prose
    and posers of poetry.
    I've got to say, though, that the one I bless the most is the one who taught me there was such a thing as parody.

  3. Erin, that is so wonderful and clever!

  4. Thank you!! And well done, oh, saint of syntax.

  5. I LOVE it..what a witty idea! (but I am sure my English teachers of yore would have a nervous breakdown after reading my poetry!)

  6. I am a sage for our age,
    A patron saint of syntax,
    A lion of lyricism,
    A conqueror of commas gone wrong!

    You go, girl! (as "they" say...)

    I enjoyed this a lot, Erin. My partner is a retired English professor, and I got the MA but not the stomach to face freshman essays the rest of my days...

    "Epic" has a a very nice rhythm and flow. And anyone who can beautifully combine Wordsworth, Whitman, Dickinson, folktale, grammar and style all in one one-page poem is a lion of lyricism in my book.


    Paul Oakley
    Blogging his ReadWritePoem poems at
    Inner Light, Radiant Life

  7. I just love this! English teachers were always my favorite teachers in school. They were my heroes and taught me a lot about life. Great job!

  8. I finally read your post after looking at the thumbnail of the picture for days!
    If you do not do calligraphy then I hope you find someone who does. Have this written in calligraphy and framed.....for your office at school. It's wonderful.