Take heart

Written while waiting for word from the governor about schools re-opening.

Suspended animation

upended education

sense of desolation

facing the fall.

What school should be

we cannot see.

Ill winds still blowing

so much not-knowing.

Separate, there’s a cost.

So much is lost.

But not all

in one fall.

Until the surging tide

should subside


may be reality.



we will outlast

passing shadows cast

in empty halls

on empty walls.

By decrees

or degrees

a calling

for not falling

is conversely

full of mercy.

Choosing heartache

over heartbreak

choosing to be stronger

being a little longer


By whatever decrees

by whatever degrees

however they fall

however we start

dear ones, above all

—take heart.

Photo: Heart. Glenn Lascuna. CC BY

20 thoughts on “Take heart

  1. You have captured how I am feeling perfectly. I am in Oregon. Several school districts on California have closed. We have a skeletal plan on how we will return, but yesterday, our governor banned indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people. We are in limbo, waiting to see what this all means. Yes, let’s all take heart and care for each other.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for this response, Adrienne – I so know about being “in limbo.” Our lives have been paused and it is a long time waiting for a way, a “how,” to move forward. It was decided yesterday that in NC we will be going with a rotation of on-campus and online learning. And so we shall cultivate a creative pedagogy while clinging to our PPE and prayer…


  2. Fran, this is gorgeous. Love the rhyme scheme. Love how the ache of the decision is so present- both options not good, but one keeps us alive. Just love this…..yet hate the whole situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kathleen – here’s the thing: I hadn’t planned to write a poem! It’s a case of writing having a mind of its own … this is what came out and I found myself reading and re-reading it aloud, revising for the beat. Options … My district is going with a hybrid model, students in rotations, one week on campus and two weeks online … so it is ultimately going to be a matter of vigilant protective measures and prayer. My thoughts at the moment: How will all of this synchronize, and how much mind-power will be open to learning, considering everything? My post was a reminder to myself, as well as to teachers, families, and kids … take heart, now more than ever, as we ride out these COVID waves.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This could be a spoken word poem with its rhythm and beat and how it reflects so much of how we are feeling. I struggle with the concern for my students balanced with my own concern for the health of my family. There shouldn’t be a choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually read the poem aloud several times and altered bits based on the beat and “feel” of it – after having planned to write in prose! Hadn’t planned a poem! Writing is endlessly fascinating this way – has a mind of its own. You’re right – there shouldn’t be a choice between safety, family health, and dedication to students … and my state has decided to go with a hybrid plan of having students one week on campus and two weeks online, splitting students in three rotations … right now I cannot even envision all the pieces coming together. Most of all I pray for everyone’s safety and wellness. Fervently.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Fran, so nice to see you here again! I appreciated your poem; I think it very well summarizes what we all are feeling about the reopening of schools. I live in California and I think my school will be closed in the Fall as well as the LA district will. Thank you for sharing your beautiful poem, Fran! Stay safe and healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mari! Nice to see you again as well. Later in the day of my posting, the governor of NC went with a hybrid learning plan, a mixture/rotation of online and on-campus classes. Many teachers and families are nervous. Parents had the option of choosing a total online ‘virtual academy’ as an alternate prior to the announcement – over 26,000 students in my district are enrolled, a figure higher than the whole enrollment of some counties. I can’t imagine yet how all of this will come together … and hope and pray we can all remain safe as we strive to move forward. Thank you for your words – courage and wellness be with you!


  5. Oh! This! So many lines in here capture my own thoughts & feelings. I love the simplicity of the short lines and easy rhymes juxtaposed with the complex double meaning of words and phrases and the way you deepen meanings via juxtaposition. I’ve read this three times now & I honestly think you should submit it for publication as we head into this complicated fall. Heartache/ heartbreak indeed. Thank you for this reflection.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow! Your short lines and rhyme pack such a powerful punch! You have an incredible gift to write with raw emotions what so many people are feeling! I agree that this poem needs to be published. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

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