meeting notes

Sing stories of previous glory.
Carry us past the limit of fast forward corridors
into hallways where gestures remind us to be skeptical
and laughter drives the drama that will follow
the deliveries at hand.

Tomorrow, words will fall
from mouths that don’t know how to shut
beneath ears filled with spikes
pounded in by their own bright ideas.

Listen in silence.
Find that place where thought swings low,
where inherent possibilities germinate
into fluttering sources of transformation
expressed with the eloquence of forethought.
Honor the students we serve.

Brenda Warren 2012

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
process notes if you’re interested…
At the Montana speech coaches’ spring meeting, I wrote what follows in a stream of consciousness connecting The Sunday Whirl wordle words in my motel room after the awards evening of the event where I consumed some darn good food and wine:

singing and citing our sources stories of previous glory carry us past the limit of fast forward corridors into hallways where gestures remind us to be skeptical and laughter drives the drama we envision as we follow the deliveries at hand from mouths that don’t know how to shut because ears don’t hear previous decisions

That stream helped me piece this poem together. This morning’s meeting had a heavy influence on the finished product. The meeting was contentious and long. We convened at 8:00 a.m. Committee reports were read, arguments for, arguments against, division. Vote. Repeat. Frost with contention. The meeting ended at 1:00 with one 10-minute break to check out of the motel before noon. It seemed to me that egos in the room detracted from the best interest of our students.

When I got home tonight, I broke up the stream and added the rest of it. I kept the perspective of the previous evening with “Tomorrow, words will fall…”  The stream shows that I already knew it would be contentious.  There were rumblings on Friday, too. It almost reads like two or maybe three pieces.  I don’t think this one is finished yet.  But it is what it is today.

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42 thoughts on “meeting notes

  1. I am so new to writing that I really don’t feel qualified to comment, and I am totally in awe of all you wonderful writers here! But I do love these lines:
    “Tomorrow, words will fall
    from mouths that don’t know how to shut
    beneath ears filled with spikes
    pounded in by their own bright ideas.”
    Especially the “ears filled with spikes”. How hard it is to listen sometimes.
    Sorry, I’m posting really late this week 🙂

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  2. “Tomorrow, words will fall from mouths that don’t know how to shut beneath ears filled with spikes pounded in by their own bright ideas.” WOW! Very telling words, Brenda! I can feel your frustration!
    “Listen in silence. Find that place where thought swings low, where inherent possibilities germinate into fluttering sources of transformation expressed with the eloquence of forethought. Honor the students we serve.” Brilliant and inspiring!

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  3. Brenda, your process notes definitely gave me a better understanding of the poem. For it to stand on its own, you might consider adding more detail either to the title or the opening stanza to help the reader understand what kind of meeting you were in…? Just a suggestion. Some wonderful lines here; I especially liked “Find that place where thought swings low.”

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  4. Like b_y I was off on a positive feeling… and missed the contention. I am just in awe of good teachers. On the first read I thought this pat might be referring to teachers working with unruly students.

    “Tomorrow, words will fall
    from mouths that don’t know how to shut
    beneath ears filled with spikes
    pounded in by their own bright ideas”

    I am glad you included your process notes…because I am in desperate need of “listening to what I read” better. Both you and Margo have the such great people commenting.Keep up the great work- in the classroom and here on your blog.

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  5. This poem may not be finished yet (and I hope it’s not), but the teacher’s heart shines through, bright and clear. Thank you for reminding me why I teach. It has something—a lot—to do with service.

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  6. You said a mouthful. The contention is clear but I like it because you get your point across. The purpose is to honor your students. I like what you say about keeping your mouth shut and listening within “where thought swings low”. Listening within where thoughts germinate. In other words, “Think before you speak.” Yeah?

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  7. Wonderful – for the students. I have gotten out of political brew-ha-ha stuff. I always felt I was never able to get a word in edge-wise anyway. At least with writing, for the most part when you are the reader you get to enjoy and think without several other voices wanting to interrupt your moment. I enjoy reading the process notes to. Tomorrow words will fall… I think of a hymn I learned… you were given one mouth and two ears so you should listen twice as much. Tell that to all the egos in one room and you’ll never hear a moments quiet – well that’s my guess. Thanks again for the words. I’ve only read a couple of others. It is always interesting to see where the list takes us.

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    • I agree with you Jules. I’m quiet at these meetings, and try to listen well. That way if I do speak, I’ll be aware of what was said before my words. Redundancy raises its head. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words.

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  8. Love the heart of this, Brenda, and I really like that opening line. ( Maybe I should try that wine therapy) But maybe for the purpose of the poem it’s a little too positive sounding. Could be my misreading, but I think your meaning is “you (blanks) keep singing about past glories” or “sing me your songs of past glory”. This seems to be a charge to revel in the past.
    Maybe you could title it with the factual (probably overlong and dry) subject line of the meeting. Or as an address to the membership.
    Something you said in your notes has me wanting to try a time warp piece. Or letter from a miserably bad clairvoyant. Seeing the titanic in balmy waters sort of bad. hmmm
    Thanks for the words. Seeing if I can get my writing group as hooked as I am.

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    • Good point on the positive sounding. One other influence of the evening, though, was when Kandi Stone from our rival high school in Great Falls, was awarded the AA Coach of the Year. Her acceptance speech was beautiful, and moved many of us to tears. Others spoke well, too, and there was some reveling in the past.

      Take a look at the tv series Life on Mars. It’s available for instant viewing on Netflix. It will definitely feed your appetite for time warp pieces. I just watched the 17th and final episode this morning. It is quirky and well done.

      And yes! Hook your writing group.

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  9. The first stanza pulled me in, Brenda. I love this piece and reading your process notes makes it all the more powerful. I hate it when ego gets in the way of what’s best for the children, or company, or organization… whatever it may be.

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    • I agree, Laurie. Thanks for your comments. Overall we do great things for children. At adult meetings howeveer, different perspectives that are unwilling to bend result in discontent. The arguments become redundant. The goal gets mired in ego. blech…

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  10. Brenda, I love the flow of this from past to future to present. Adore that last line. That whole last stanza speaks to me. I think it works well, the “glories” of the past, the “mouths that don’t know how to shut” – and then to listening – oh so important.

    Richard

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  11. Ah yes, words that fall from mouths that don’t know how to shut….I can so picture that! And yes, sometimes important to listen in silence and to honor the students one serves. I hear this as well; but sometimes it is darned hard not to speak up and add to the contention, isn’t it? Sounds like you did.

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    • Thank you for stopping and sharing your thoughts, Mary. Actually, I was quiet at Saturday morning’s meeting. My mind was raging, but I didn’t want to add to the atmosphere, and was not sure how to diffuse it. It was an interesting meeting, as it is every year.

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    • Thanks Viv. I like it too, but I’m always second guessing myself, so I changed it up. I think the poem makes more sense…but then I never know (see, there’s the second guessing again). 🙂

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