My Soul’s Own Voice

Poems on teaching and learning – There is an immense power inherent in caring teachers as they foster and nurture the development of children pursuing dreams

©Leslie Owen Wilson  

The old woman artist, mother of my mother, sat still

beside a window in her studio.

Looking out into the world beyond,

she spoke to me in a soft, familiar hush like rustled grass.

And in a litany borne of age and wisdom said ‑‑ as if to the air,

the heavens and the shadows:


“Luckily, I had some teachers

who changed my life.

They saw in me a child of wonder

and of promise.

For at that time of beginnings, it was an image

I had pushed far away from myself.

With gentleness and kindness

they took me by my hand, and heart, and mind

and led me through great doors

too large for small children to open.

They knew, beyond these doors, I would glimpse

the image of my true self.

There would be my destiny and the future visions

of my imaginings.

Through those portals of splendor,

I met the flurried magic of art and music and

the rhythmed words of ancients.

There were such patterns, sounds and sights

that struck me all but dumb in their resplendence.

And in those special places were the surprises and

connections to my inner self.

Through the efforts of those dedicated few

I entered new worlds of wonder and achievement,

to find at last my soul’s own voice.

It was they who let me look upon their magic mirrors,

thus finding the vision of my special face.”


Then she turned to me, smiling

and pointing to her still wet wares,

her prizes

and the children of her imagination, said:

“All of this has been possible because of them.

My child, remember well,

for you have chosen a profession

that has great power.

To teach,

Learn to use that power well.”

 potters-wheel-58557_640 (1)

I don’t think many teachers realize they are “keepers of the future” and so people with great power. This poem was written to help teachers realize the effects they can have on students’ futures.

All teachers affect the future to some extent, whether positively or negatively. Real “keepers” are intentionally aware of this power and focus on how they will affect children’s’ abilities to live, work, grow, and flourish in a time to come.                LW

©Leslie Owen Wilson, 1994, all rights reserved (originally published in Every child, whole child)

Potter photo by James DeMers on Pixabay

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