Tuesday, August 13, 2013

If You Were a Chair

If you were a chair what sort of chair would you be?
Lazy boy or ladder back, architectural or Queen Anne
Maybe you'd be an Adirondack, relaxed, a little laid back.
Or an arm chair sturdy enough to lean into and push off from

Would you be tradmark classic "the Aeron chair"
or classic modern, a Garden Egg
Maybe Casual Coed, a bean bag, say is more your style
or Club chair, smartly dressed, suits your sort.

What do chairs do when we close the doors and turn out all the lights?
When the school rooms are empty and night sounds echo
Rolling chairs wheel and deal, sliding across slick floors
they kick up their heels and cast sassy looks
Rolling chairs shift their weight leg to leg, caster to caster,
sometimes they spin, laughing at the merry-go-round moment.
Bowling down hallways, they get stuck on stairs.

Writing desks rather wobble,
There fronts stuck out, their molded plastic behinds
the least flexible in the field
still they enjoy a stroll to catch a glimpse of stars
outside on the softball field, sometimes they pitch a
game to the teachers' stools
and win.

When we close the doors and turn out all the lights
swivel chairs slide out the seams of night's fabric
they swing to the gym for a dance party
be bop, the twist, the Harlem shake
swing and spin those swivel seats know how to
cut loose and have some fun.

But every night like day must end,
chairs wander back and right the rooms
 whose rows and desks they left beret
they settle in as Sunday night
shifts light from dark
to peek of day.

{ draft in progress this poem is..rhyme and meter is a off, but I'll keep working at it}

This is my first week as the English department chair at my school. I'm doing a lot of thinking about what that role means. What does an instructional leader do? How does one act? What sort of support do teachers need? I have a lot of questions. I like thinking about them and about how I define leadership. I'm not quite ready to write about that yet, so I imagine that and Maya Woodall's poem about certification test stress is where this poem idea sprang from. I like the idea, so I'll play with the chair images and try to finish the piece.
In the meantime, while I'm thinking things through and trying to lead by example [or at least not make too many mistakes before September!] in thought word and deed, I'd love to hear what you think a department chairs should be.

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  1. How do I love this, let me count the ways!! Alone or with colleagues, we've often talked about the school at night, how different it is, wondering if the ghosts come out and play on the chalkboards (we did have them at our other older school) & now you're talking about chairs whooping it up. I see that some parts don't quite mesh, but the images are just marvelous Lee Ann, "caster to caster" or "out on the field pitching to the teacher's stools". I was smiling all the way through. Best of wishes in this new position. I imagine you will figure good parts to do when needed, whatever they are. Remember chocolate is highly regarded!

    1. Thank you, Linda. I do need to work on the lines, but I'm tickled you smiled through the draft. If only I were disciplined enough to keep a chocolate stash in the room!

  2. I would most definitely be an antique rocking chair full of stories of newborn babies, snuggling toddlers, worried mothers, grandma's smiles, and many more. I think I might be on to something here...thanks for the inspiration.

    Your poem in progress reminds me of the book What Snowmen Do at Night? I hope you share your final results.

    1. I love rocking chairs, especially a bentwood rocker or even a porch glider. Leigh Anne, my son and I love What Snowmen Do at Night. He's twelve and while we haven't read it in a long time, there were months when it was an every-night read!