ORIGINS

I grew up in a small Ohio town, and I rode the school bus from 1st through 12th grades. My bus ride always included a country road on which every school day we saw a one-room brick school house. (SW corner of Stine Rd and Enon-Xenia Pike). As the years went by, I watched this wonderful, familiar friend fall apart. After I married, the school really began to deteriorate. Every time we visited the area I would want to take a photo of the school, but never did. Finally, when we went specifically for the task, the school was gone. It was a huge loss for me and, since that time, whenever we pass a one-room school, it is a joy to stop to take a picture or two. Thus, our collection here, and the one with schools in other states. Jill :oD

Monday, April 6, 2015

In School-Days

Still sits the school-house by the road,
A ragged beggar sunning;
Around it still the sumachs grow,
And blackberry-vines are running.

Within, the master’s desk is seen,
Deep scarred by raps official;
The warping floor, the battered seats, 
The jack-initial;

The charcoal frescoes on its wall;
Its door’s worn sill, betraying
The feet that, creeping slow to school,
Went storming out to playing!

Long years ago a winter sun
Shone over it at setting;
Lit up its western window-panes,
And low eaves’ icy fretting.

It touched the tangled golden curls,
And brown eyes full of grieving,
Of one who still her steps rely
When all the school are leaving.

For near her stood the little boy
Her childish favor singled;
His cap pulled low upon a face
Where pride and shame were mingled.

Pushing with restless feet the snow
To right and left he lingered; —
As restlessly her tiny hands
The blue-checked apron fingered.

He saw her lift her eyes; he felt
The soft hand’s light caressing,
And hear the tremble of her voice,
As if a fault confessing.

“I’m sorry that I spelt the word:
I hat to go above you,
Because,” —the brown eyes lower fell. —
“Because, you see, I love you!”

Still memory to a gray-haired man
That sweet child-face is showing.
Dear girl! the grasses on her grave
Have forty years been growing!

He lives to learn, ini life’s hard school,
How few who pass above him
Lament their triumph and his loss, 
Like here, — because they love him.



John Greenleaf Whitter, from The Best Loved Poems of the American People.

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