Ruth’s Student Story: Arielle.

One day I was packing my bag, getting ready to go to another school when I looked up to notice Arielle was still sitting at her desk, staring at me.  The rest of the class (and teacher) had already headed to lunch. 

“What’s up?” I asked her.

“I wanted to tell you thank you for poetry,” she said quietly.  I wasn’t quite sure what to say and a bit taken back that a fifth grader wanted to thank me for poetry.  She was in an extraordinary classroom the previous year and one I knew had worked with poetry, because I was in the room too.

“No problem,” I stuttered, “Poetry can be powerful.”

“I know,” she said, “It let me write about my dad for the first time since he died.  That’s why I’m thankful for poetry.  I wanted to write about him, but I’ve not been able to.”

Arielle’s dad died about six months prior.  Again, what to say?  Almost everything that came to mind seemed lame.

She continued, “I want you to read it.  I’ve not shared it with anyone yet.  I wanted you to read it first.”

I looked over her shoulder and read her poem.  Tears welled in my eyes and when I looked at her, I saw she had them too.  I hugged her and said, “I’m glad you wrote this.”

“Me too,” said Arielle.  She closed her notebook and headed out the door.

I stayed planted beside her empty chair, in simple awe at the power of writing, the power of poetry.  How did I get so lucky that I can spend my days sharing this power with others?  I’m thankful when they let me know they get it.