Goodbyes.

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goodbye

The ivory tower is empty now, no footsteps on the stair,

I listen out to hear them, but know they are not there.

No shouting to disturb me, no head to enter in,

My tower’s all my own again tranquillity within.

And yet I’ll hear their echo until they come again,

Those precious ones that love me, my own among the men.

With hearts so soft and open, young minds that seek and see,

A world so full of wonder, so empty, yet so free.

Life’s yet to take its toll on them while childhood rules the day,

Their greatest of decisions, of what to watch or play.

The comfort of a daughter whose love is rare and true

With whom to share heart’s secrets and who gives hers to you.

The dust it now has settled, the mess no longer frowns,

The table’s clear, the lights turned off, the shoe rack empty now.

Yet something now seems missing as I settle to my work,

I sigh in quiet contentment, but something’s bound to lurk.

I miss the noise, the bustle, (though I could not bear it long),

Each time they come to visit it lifts my heart in song.

And now I hear it echo as I settle down to write,

A smile dawns on my face ‘mist memories warm and bright.

Taiwan Farewells.

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My heart remembers the balloons, their soft circles ascending in the evening dusk, each carrying a prayer for me to the heavens.
Some think the Chinese an emotionless people, there’s the classic of the “Chinese poker face”. I always felt an affinity, like me they have had to learn to disguise a tender heart in strength, emotions running deep within, never viewed by strangers.
It was not the first time I’d partaken, nor the last, but it stays pictured in my mind. They said the children wanted to give me a going away present, but that present wasn’t the tropical lilies or the gift wrapped box presented to me, it was far more precious than that.
As golden disks lit within bore tiny scribbled messages of intercession they began to sing. The English words were thrust into my hands to bridge my understanding. As the first small voice began to tremble, tears gleamed in the darkness, seeping out through the age ranges till only adult voices remained strong, though rivers flowed from their eyes. I could bare it no more; choking back tears I hugged my friend (and boss).
Though our bond was strong we knew we could not long indulge ourselves, passers by began to stare. Why were all these children and teachers crying in the street? We scrambled to gain control as teachers must, but the refrain of the song remains in my heart to this day. “Though you must go far away, and we may never see you again in this world, the precious times we had together can never be taken away”.
These are the true treasures of a teacher.