A Thought + A Poem

Around Indiana, Kindergarten Round Up is in full swing.  This personally effects me since my red-headed flair of a five year old will be entering kindergarten next year.  She is so excited.  She’s unable to keep still just thinking about going to kindergarten.  I watch her pretend and imagine and dress up as a ninja-dentist-ballerina (her current career aspiration) and I’m in awe at the amazing way her brain works.  Then I read this poem by Georgia Heard and my eyes brim with tears.

Straight Line
By Georgia Heard

All the kindergarteners
walk to recess and back
in a perfectly straight line
no words between them.
They must stifle their small voices,
their laughter, they must
stop the little skip in their walk,
they must not dance or hop
or run or exclaim.
They must line up at the water fountain
straight, and in perfect form,
like the brick wall behind them.
One of their own given the job of informer — guard of quiet,
soldier of stillness.
If they talk
or make a sound
they will lose their stars.
Little soldiers marching to and from
pretend
their hair sweaty
from escaping dinosaurs
their hearts full of loving the world
and all they want to do
is shout it out
at the top of their lungs.
When they walk back to class
they must quietly
fold their pretends into pockets,
must dam the river of words,
ones they’re just learning,
new words that hold the power
to light the skies, and if they don’t
a star is taken away.
One star
by one star
until night grows dark and heavy
while they learn to think carefully
before skipping,
before making a wish.