Anh Part 2: The Teacher

You can read part 1 here.


During break time I took up my pen and sat in silence
Writing nothing because nothing came to mind:
No plan for the lesson ahead; no plan for anything besides;
Nothing to end the torment spinning in my brain.
In that time I desired to know only one thing,
One thing alone I deemed important enough to learn:
Why should I have a plan for my students, for my lessons,
When my teacher seems to have no plan for me?
Then began my journey of great discovery
With fire born from anger and no guarantee;
When I arrived in the next classroom with no papers
And a book that I had all but burned in my rage
The students were unable to contain their glee –
Which must be something that wears away over time
And with age, for never have I summoned such excitement
Since my youth, and long ago it seemed as joyous children
Paraded around the room bubbling and carefree;
It made me realize how odd it is to find
That when my teacher has no plan it bothers me;
In that overwhelming moment I felt I had to
Teach the children how to escape from their cells,
So I told them of the teacher and His betrayal
And in turn made them little versions of myself;
In their young minds the teacher’s image became
One He never would have painted on His own.
Afterwards, they knew nothing but hatred for the teacher
(“That monster!” they screamed in their anger,
“Are we a class that He does nothing but ignore?”
And though I did not wish for them to suffer any further,
They were caught within the emptiness I had created.
“Look! See how He leaves us in the dark without a torch!
Why does a teacher allow pain within His classroom?
Why does He present nothing helpful to us?”)
Though I could not hope to provide them with any answers,
I had created a group of doubters with great ease,
Moulded from my own doubts to spread disease;
When those students are older, and should their fury remain,
Then that responsibility will be mine and mine alone,
For that morning when I sat inside my classroom
Watching the students engage lazily with their task
Became the morning that my teacher saw my fury
And decreed that I should never be content.


© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City of the World”

If you’d like to know more about this book and the others I have contributed to, please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

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… And a Dance

Two dragons,
Each composed of two grown men;
Another man dressed as
A large, golden Buddha.
They progress around the room, pausing
At each table
To spread smiles
And bring cheer
To their audience.

On the stage, they dance
And twist, flashing colours
Before our eyes,
Filling our vision with rainbows
Of red and gold.
However long they spark amusement,
Time flies by at double speed.

We see ourselves as strangers in our homes,
Outsiders looking upon
Our own cultures, wondering
Just as we are marvelling,
Viewing Christmas lights
And Easter eggs
And media obsession with royals
With alien meaning and intention,
All understanding lost. For this
Is who we are,
Watching the dragons dance,
Observing without knowing
Blind although we see.

It makes the moment
No less beautiful,
The evening no less enthralling;
We have no bias, existing
Purely to enjoy
And nothing more.


© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Tet: A Meal …

Lunar New Year is a time
For relaxation, celebration, salutation
And great joy for all. Flags unfurl,
Hanging from every building,
Swaying with the same energy that infects
Everyone below.

We take a break
From all our efforts, joining
Together to observe the celebrations.

There’s a large meal put on
For all the teachers, organized
By our boss, enough
To impress
The stockholders. We inhale
The scent of good food
And our stomachs answer in earnest,
Begging to try everything.

Tables laid out in perfect design,
Each a splendid replica of the last;
Vivid pictures in our minds
For years to come.
Melting on the tongue,
The food takes centre stage,
Lighting up our mouths with
Unique and wonderful flavours.

Then the drums begin
From somewhere behind us,
Confusing our ears
As we search for the source
Of the sound.

Thud, thud, thud
And thump, thump, thump
And rat-a-tat-a-tat;
They make our fingers tap.
The sounds infect our bodies
Until they feel as though
They come from inside of us.

Where is that noise coming from?
It grows in volume, intensifies
Until we could explode
From the vibrations coursing through us.
Then through a door
That bursts wide open
Comes the evening’s entertainment.


© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Anh Part One: The Philosopher

One morning as I sat inside my classroom
Watching the students engage lazily with their task
With empty hearts (For none of us desired this,
But the school had insisted nonetheless;
To what end, I cannot say, perhaps merely
To bore the students), I thought to myself –
Like the dog thinks before it fetches the pheasant,
Or the cat before it ignores its owner and returns
To sleep, that there was nothing more than this.
Alas, time went no faster. So I pictured in my head
Some almighty teacher, somewhere, who with
A look of defeat in His eyes watches us solemnly,
Asking what possessed Him to give us this dreary task;
Wondering why we all make such a fuss.
Why, He questions, is there not a better choice?
All of His students begin to ask the same, until in turn
They begin to question the teacher’s judgement;
The lessons turn worse. The students become unruly,
Making a sport that they practice time and time again
In which they pretend the teacher is nowhere to be found
And that they cannot see Him in the classroom.
Once one student has begun, so the rest will follow
Their poor example, until the world is but destroyed;
There’s nothing but students with nothing to learn
Because they do not consider their lessons worth learning.
As I sat there watching one student scratch her head
In her confusion over a badly-worded question
Which even I had hoped not to attempt, I considered
Standing proud before them; ripping up their tests papers
As they cheered me on with glee. Yet that, I could not do.
The school was my Master and the wage my chain.
I owed allegiance to these two; no other did I serve.
So I knew then, in that moment of understanding
And shared pain, that this imprudent student was me:
I had ignored the presence of my teacher for too long;
There was nothing left for me but Master and chain.
The key to my desperation was held in the cold hands
Of the insistent preacher who had first felt the need
To present my students with such tedious tests.
If I had gone down a different path, and abandoned
My intellect, who knows! For I shall always question whether
That might have brought me closer to my teacher’s lessons;
In a life that could have been no less fulfilling
And perhaps more happy, I could have been sitting
In the marital home with my precious children,
Thinking that it was time for them to submit themselves
To their role as students in that soulless institution;
In a place to teach them how to read and write and think,
Though not to feel or understand their fellow man,
They could have been like every other student, discouraged
To grow as individuals, until some sorry morning when
Each child became a perfect replica of the last,
Though in their innocence they would never be trained to know.
Or I could have been working on a checkout somewhere,
Wondering why the customers were purchasing
Such strange items, such weird collections of goods,
Feeling desperate to shout that the designer brands they bought
Failed to make them any more important than me.
Alas, the more I dreamed the test away the more I saw
It mattered not what I might have done with my life,
For still in each outcome I could imagine I knew
I would have neglected my teacher, in times of
Bitter strife, for the ones I had avoided in my youth.
My devotion to that great teacher was no good.


© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City of the World”

I really hope you enjoyed this poem, it’s one of my personal favourites from City of the World. Part 2 will be up soon!

If you’d like to know more about this book and the others I have contributed to, please visit my author page and share my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

YouTube Tuesday: Arrival in Ho Chi Minh

Back to the real world after my birthday – and it’s YouTube Tuesday again! Here’s “Arrival in Ho Chi Minh”, an excerpt from my book “City of the World”.

Arrival in Ho Chi Minh

It rises like a crescendo
Steady and quite sure
Then falls like a cliff edge
And I know of no cure

The turbulence meant nothing
But another leap to me
On my insane, lonesome voyage
To Ho Chi Minh City

I forgot my education
(Wait – what’s my name?)
If everything were to go wrong,
Then I would be to blame

It rose like a crescendo,
Fastened onto my heart,
Then fell like a cliff edge,
And pierced me like a dart

I had done it! Reached a place
That I knew nothing of;
Despite the fear inside me,
One that I would come to love.

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page to purchase a copy of the book: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Introducing “Writing Tips ~ Exploring The Writer’s Path Volume 1”

Many of my writing tips are featured on Creative Talents Unleashed and in their anthology Writing Tips Volume 1: Exploring the Writer’s Path – check it out here!

Creative Talents Unleashed

Writing Tips Volume 1

Introduction

Do you dream of being a writer? Have you already dabbled with words, but still need some help finding your style on paper? Or are you one of those who have so much to write, but just can’t find the time to get the task done? This book could be your saving grace. Put together by a group of talented writers from the Creative Talents Unleashed family, Writing Tips Vol. 1 is for any level of writer.

I believe everyone can write. If you can carry on a simple conversation, then you are capable of writing. Some just don’t know where to start. You don’t have to be educated or have a degree to be a good writer. Some of the greatest writers in the world didn’t have that opportunity when they started writing. If you’ve written in a journal or a letter, you’re already an author. You just…

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YouTube Tuesday: City of the World

Here’s a short one for this week. The first poem from my book “City of the World”, also called City of the World:

City of the World

So many faces, so many names!
How am I to immortalize them all?
The marvels, the jokes, the many joys
That belong to every one?
Around the globe, from East to West,
We came to sample the fruits
Of the home we found together
Far beyond our simple beginnings

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page: http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

Christmas in Vietnam

No carol singers at the door
No cards bought from the local store
No presents sitting on the floor

No tinsel hanging from the tree
No table topped with fat turkey
No time spent with the family

A single day away from class
A holiday doomed soon to pass
A quiet, pleasant, brief Christmas

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

No Winter Blues for Me

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The call of home drew many in the winter,
Beckoning with snow and home comforts;
It was a season of changes and upheaval.
They pondered for hours over their options,
Then packed their bags and bid the rest of us
Farewell, some for a month and some for good,
Weighed down with gifts to lavish friends
And family with trinkets they were proud to carry;
Others came at New Year, seeking fresh adventure,
Seduced by the idea of travel at a time
They associated with beginnings and resolutions;
And some found new homes and new jobs
Without leaving the taste of their venture behind,
New employers offering them delightful wages
To fill their pockets – after longer hours and
Harder lessons; still some of us remained behind,
Perhaps loyal, or perhaps foolishly devoted
To the company that first gave us work in Vietnam
And breathed life into our imaginations.

Those we lost were missed, a hole left behind
That could not be filled; as they went the new arrivals,
Who replaced our co-workers and friends with
Their own outrageous personalities, were no less
Welcomed than their predecessors, no less
Our family than anyone else had ever been.
They came from England, Scotland, Wales,
From Europe and America, all of them with
Wide eyes that reminded us of our first day there;
We became the elders, and so we pretended
To know Vietnam; we assured them that their
Worries and their longing for home would fade
Away in time, once they settled here with us.
I marvelled, quite astounded, that in winter
My home did not holler and tempt me.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html

The Motorbike Taxi

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Left

Right

Zip here

Zip there

Pick up speed

Slam your breaks

There’s always a path

Through the traffic

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Left

Right

Turn here

Turn there

Don’t indicate

No time for that

So hug the driver

And don’t look back

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om driver rules the road

Forges a path with his bike

Xe om driver has no fear

Gives you the ride of your life

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om xe om xe om xe om

Xe om driver does not falter

Knows his way to anywhere

Xe om driver’s bold and reckless

Swiftly moves without a care

Xe om driver’s price is heavy

For those who do not know

Xe om rides should be cheap

Wherever you wish to go

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:
http://www.ctupublishinggroup.com/laura-marie-clark.html