Poetics – Vocation or Call

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“Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am.”

― Parker J. Palmer

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When I was eleven, I went to England for the first time. I spent three days in London with my parents followed by a week with my mother’s pen friend’s family. I was absolutely fascinated by the country and what I perceived as its quaint customs: school uniforms, driving on the left, 99 flake, … the language.

As a result of these enchanting ten days, I clearly remember announcing to my parents that I wished to become an English teacher. I believe that, even as a pre-teen, I wished to share with others my love of the language and the culture. Six years later, I spent a whole year in England and then started college. At the age of 22 I became just that: an English student teacher in a French high school.

Some of us have a sense of vocation much later in life and nowadays second careers are not rare. On the contrary some people have had their vocations thwarted, by people or events. One of my colleagues became a teacher because of a domineering father, so did his brothers and sisters. It was clear that he did not enjoy it in the least and was an unhappy man living his father’s dream as best as he could.

Others find their vocations in doing something special for themselves or others rather than in they careers. Writing as a hobby might be yours.

VOCATION

When the gong sounds ten in the morning and I walk to school by our lane.
Every day I meet the hawker crying, “Bangles, crystal bangles!”
There is nothing to hurry him on, there is no road he must
take, no place he must go to, no time when he must come home.
I wish I were a hawker, spending my day in the road, crying,
“Bangles, crystal bangles!”

When at four in the afternoon I come back from the school,
I can see through the gate of that house the gardener digging the ground.
He does what he likes with his spade, he soils his clothes
with dust, nobody takes him to task if he gets baked in the sun or gets wet.
I wish I were a gardener digging away at the garden with
nobody to stop me from digging.

Just as it gets dark in the evening and my mother sends me to bed,
I can see through my open window the watchman walking up and down.
The lane is dark and lonely, and the street-lamp stands like
a giant with one red eye in its head.
The watchman swings his lantern and walks with his shadow at
his side, and never once goes to bed in his life.
I wish I were a watchman walking the streets all night,
chasing the shadows with my lantern.

Rabindranath Tagore

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So today I’d like you to write about your call, or that of a person you know and admire – that person may be a famous sportsman or leader but also an anonymous relative or neighbor.

You may prefer to write about what could your call have been had your circumstances been different. Like Tagore, you could also choose to listen to the child in you and remember what you wanted to become.

After writing your poem, post your link below. And in the spirit of community, visit others as well.

What to do after you have written:

• Post your poem to your blog

• Add a link to your poem via the ‘Mr Linky’ below

• Read and comment on other people’s work to let them know it’s being read

• Share via your favorite social media platforms

• Above all- have fun!

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