Buckeye Poetry: "The Teacher's Sin" and a Tressel Limerick

BuckeyePoetLaureate's picture
July 21, 2013 at 6:27p

Fellow Buckeyes -

We're in the Summer Semester, which means that college campuses are not exactly hoppin', especially when compared with what they'll look like in five weeks.  My thoughts are nonetheless on teachers and teaching: a truly noble pursuit.  (Here's hoping I can keep teaching; it's hard sacrificing the money I would otherwise make with whatever talents and education I have.) 

I thought I would start everyone out with an amuse bouche, a morsel that will prepare your palate for my "serious" poem.  Some of you kind folks have contributed limericks in my previous threads, and that's great.  As I've said, poems don't HAVE to be all serious and scholarly and stuff.  So here is my limerick.

Tressel Limerick

There once was a teacher named Tressel.
For a decade, he guided our vessel.
He inspired our town
with the national crown
and helped those who swim, golf, run and wrestle.

(Don't you love how "Tressel" rhymes with "wrestle" even though those phonemes--the basic sound units that make up words--are spelled so differently?)

Yes, teaching has been on my mind.  As I'm sure you'll all agree, coaches do much of the same work of teachers, who sometimes also do the work of parents.  Different children require different care and the techniques that work with one person won't work with another.  Coaches and music teachers and the like often share the same kind of close relationship with their students.  They don't see kids for an hour a day; rather, teachers spend countless hours with them in practice and in performance.


The Teacher's Sin

Kenneth Nichols

The greatest classroom?  Socrates amidst
his olive trees.  The young men--Athens' finest--
gathered around in hopes of honing their minds
against the unyielding bedrock of his reason.

Old Socrates would sacrifice himself
and end his fight with hemlock rather than teach
with methods and message that contradict one's truth.

Jim Tressel's olive grove was filled with Buckeyes,
some ripe, some green--all chosen for their skills.
Coach Tressel now has countless Platos, men
who were brought to light by his teachings and have chalked
them on the blank slates in their care.

Both Socrates and Tressel earned a place
on future tongues by reaching the Olympus
of their fields.  And both men sealed their fates
by listening to their hearts and breaking canon
they felt fixed against their pupils and their dreams.

In Buckeye Grove and olive, men committed The Teacher's Sin:
they sacrificed their own fame, wealth and comfort
in hopes of helping students reach potential
they neglect, forsake or otherwise won't share.

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