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You Are Needed...

When I hear the word ‘education’, I envision a classroom with metal desks with a lid that flips up and a hard wooden chair. In fact, it often reminds me of this poem I read in my teens that moved me to tears, perhaps because I felt like one of those kids who was ‘different’:

On Education

He always wanted to explain things. But no one cared.

So, he drew.

Sometimes he would draw, and it wasn’t anything.

He wanted to carve it into stone or write it in the sky, and it would only be

him and the sky and the things inside him that needed saying.

It was after that he drew the picture. It was a beautiful picture.

He kept it under his pillow and would let no one see it.

He would look at it every night and think about it. When it was dark,

and his eyes were close, he could still see it.

When he started school, he brought it with him; not to show anyone,

just to have to along like a friend.

It was funny about school. He sat at a square brown desk, like all the

other square brown desks.

He thought it would be a red one.

And his room was a square, brown room, like all the other rooms.

He hated to hold the pencil and chalk, his arms stiff, his feet flat on the floor, stiff, the teacher watching and watching.

The teacher came and spoke to him. She told him to wear a tie like all the other boys.

He said he didn’t like them. She said it didn’t matter.

He drew all yellow. It was the way he felt about the morning, and it was beautiful.

The teacher came and smiled at him. “What’s this?”, she said, “Why don’t you draw something like the other boys are drawing, isn’t that beautiful?”

After that, his mother bought him a tie, and he always drew airplanes and rocket ships, like everyone else.

And he threw the old picture away.

And when he lay alone, looking at the sky, it was big and blue and all of everything, but he wasn’t anymore. He was square inside and brown, and his hands were stiff.

The things inside that needed saying didn’t need it anymore.

It had stopped pushing.

It was crushed.


Like everything else.

What I’ve learned since those early years is: