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Vintage school photo, Weslaco, Texas. 1942

Briiiing, briiiing! Mid-August, middle America, and we’re back in school. Every year when backpacked kids return to the sidewalks and yellow busses fill the streets, I can still hear the bells ringing down the crowded halls, smell pencil cases and reused textbook pages, and sense the anxiety of mid-term exams even though I’d paid attention in class and nearly pulled an all-nighter studying.

Thanks for joining the dVerse poetry prompt this evening. I’m Amaya Engleking and I’m wondering, what images or senses fill your minds when you think back on your school days?

Was there a particular lesson that still stands out today as the pinnacle of your primary education? Did you have a teacher who made all the difference? Any embarrassing or hilarious moments that happened on campus and you couldn’t forget even if you tried? Is some seemingly minor detail associated with a particular classmate or classroom and now, for example, whenever you look at a chalkboard you can’t help but think of quirky Mr. Barnhart who would tap it three quick times before graphing the function. Or are you like our beloved Shel Silverstein and can remember playing hooky most of all?

By Shel Silverstein

“I cannot go to school today,”
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
“I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I’m going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I’ve counted sixteen chicken pox
And there’s one more—that’s seventeen,
And don’t you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut—my eyes are blue—
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I’m sure that my left leg is broke—
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button’s caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle’s sprained,
My ‘pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow’s bent, my spine ain’t straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is—what?
What’s that? What’s that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G’bye, I’m going out to play!”

(From poets.org)

You can play the pleading “Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh” card in your poem as well, or you may choose to elaborate on how you just adored school all the way from the first days of boxed milk and pigtails. The form is open but try to be as detailed as possible in order to ‘school’ us in your poetry.

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