still the raging waters rise

we went searching for the honest truth,
but the answers we found were uncouth

they poisoned the well but the water still flowed
painted o'er the moon but fiery stars still glowed
they buried all the bodies but white bone showed
tried taming hearts but we couldn't be controlled

we are fighting impossible enemies
while the secrets lie beneath the scenes

still the raging waters rise

Well, that escalated quickly. I intended to write more innocently about the river flooding happening near our home, but this definitely turned into something more. I composed this Symetrelle poem for the We’ave Written Weekly prompt at the Skeptic’s Kaddish. This week’s prompt is from Jane, who asks us to do the following:

  1. Write a poem using one of these two poetic forms:
    • Senryu;
      • Click HERE for explanation of ‘Senryu’;
    • Symetrelle;
      • Click HERE for explanation of the ‘Symetrelle’;
  2. Include the word “impossible” in your poem.

I believe this poem could be interpreted in many ways (colonialism would be fitting); however, while writing, I was thinking about issues more specific to the education realm. As a teacher in the US, I see a lot of hate toward my profession. Not toward me specifically (because I’m pretty chill, right? ;P), but more of a general disdain toward educators. This is frightening because if someone is against education, it would seem that person is promoting ignorance, which would only build more hate. Why would anyone want to do this?

I came across the craziest post on social media the other day. One woman in a mom group had innocently posted about her husband’s changing emotions after becoming a new dad. She was worried about him and looking for advice. Another mom, hoping to help her, had responded that he might have postpartum depression. A third mom jumped in to say, “No way! That’s only for women!” (or something to that extent).

The second mom responded to the third with the link to an article and basically a simple response about how she was surprised, too, but her husband went through it and that’s when she found out about male post-partum depression. Now, I didn’t know this was a thing, so I clicked the link. It led to a study by the National Library of Medicine, and I figure those folks probably know what they’re talking about.

This is when the third mom is supposed to say, “Oh, okay, I didn’t know either. This article looks legit. Plus, you have a personal anecdote. I learned something new today.” Right?

Nope. Third mom jumps back with “That’s your opinion!” and a rant about how men supposedly don’t understand anything about children. (Her poor husband.)

Second mom probably sighs as she posts a few more article links, saying, “It’s not my opinion. It’s a fact. These are university websites and medical journal articles writing about it. I know it’s unusual, but since it has been proven to exist, that means it’s a fact and not an opinion.”

Third mom responds, “You can believe whatever you want to believe and I’ll believe what I want. It’s just your opinion!”

It escalates from there with name-calling and other people jumping in. I didn’t actually witness this live; I just happened to stumble across this disaster on social media when brainlessly scrolling instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour. I’m not sure why I do that to myself. Reading through it was an absolute waste of approximately ten minutes of my now-borrowed time.

But I think it perfectly illustrates the attitude of some people these days who think they can pick and choose the truth that best fits their own agenda. As a teacher, it’s so frustrating to try to teach someone a fact and hear from the student or parent or society: “That’s just your opinion” or “I don’t want to hear that”. Sometimes truth is hard, but we need to learn facts to avoid repeating mistakes. To be an effective educator, we really need a team on our side: the parents, the kids, the community… It’s just like the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child”.

So, may the rising waters flood our hearts with the passion to want to learn and teach and love one another and wash away this new batch of ignorance. I hope you’re all having an educational day. 🙂

19 thoughts on “Floodwaters

  1. I love this poem! Your commentary is spot on. There are far too many people who want to treat information (data, facts) as a smorgasbord picking and choosing what to believe. A sad state of affairs!


    1. Thank you. It’s see definitely disheartening. I have a hard time understanding why people are so reluctant to admit they’re wrong; I tell my students it’s a sign of intelligence to realize what you don’t know and to be willing to change your mind. Hopefully it sticks 🤞

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sarah ~ this poem is simply stunning, and I 100% agree with your words following the poem ~ that’s been my experience in online forums too. BTW, thank you for being an educator!

    Much love,

    P.S. Technically, for a symetrelle, the 2nd and 3rd lines (i.e., the second stanza) are supposed to rhyme with the 8th and 9th lines (i.e., the fourth stanza). The rhyme scheme goes like this:

    (I’m just sharing cuz I know you’d want to know)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I originally interpreted your poetic words to be an ecological disaster, but your heartfelt words about education really struck a chord. I have so many friends and relatives who are/were teachers and librarians and I get so tired of defending them to people who are afraid of being exposed to or having to think about or question anything that disagrees with their world view. This applies to the entire spectrum of political thought. We must be lifelong learners, with open minds. We need to confront difficult things, not run away from them. (K)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! Yes, it definitely spans all sorts of people. It’s funny/sad because the teachers and librarians I know are some of the most thoughtful and open-minded people, and we’re challenged by the most closed-minded people. Maybe it’s just ironic. I believe reading helps with this because we’re exposed to so many different thoughts and perspectives and we welcome them rather than pushing them away.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a wonderful poem 🌹

    I first read it as Man’s conflict with Nature — your poem has far-reaching messages.

    I am sad that so many people seem to suffer the stubborn, blinkered vision of education. Convinced they are right. I know too many people like this. 😞

    You can only plant the seed of knowledge into a soil that is ready prepared of a good seed compost.
    L 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lesley! That’s an excellent message. I was chatting with another teacher yesterday, and she said something similar; sometimes people aren’t quite ready to accept new knowledge, but we can hope they look back on our lessons (or life’s lessons in general) later on and learn something then.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your poem and your words speak the truth, it is such a shame that some people only pick and choose what they want to believe, manipulate facts, and then have the audacity to throw it in everyone’s face – I try not to read stuff on social media, I much prefer the WordPress community so much kinder 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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