History Exams…

Well, the history exams are over. My thirty-three exams are graded, and the scores range from 33 at the low end, to 100 at the high end. I tend not to be overly conscientious about giving half-credit or partial credit for answers in the spring. If a kid’s answer is in the right ball park, they get full credit whether or not they hit all the points I had in mind. You have to work at not filling in anything to get a 33.

Aside from that anomaly, there were clusters of grades around the 60-70 mark, another cluster around 85, and another cluster around 95. These varied within the grades; the sixth grade group tended to be lower, with clusters at 62, and clusters at 84 and at 90. There were three 100s, two in the seventh grade, one in the sixth grade, and none in the ninth grade.

My grades for the school year are all calculated. Now I just have to correct two comments, and write thirty-odd more, tomorrow morning during the mathematics exam. Graduation is Sunday, and I can hardly wait.

had a new poem (was it today?). I read it as being an indictment of those who try to deny that they share in the miseries inflicted by their country and corporate system on others. Maturity, it seemed to suggest, involves owning up to your share of pain caused, and recalling how much blood you’ve helped spill, if only by association.

I’m feeling accused. In a good way. Sorta. I’m having trouble sorting out my feelings about it. In any case, it’s one of the first pieces of anti-war/anti-corporate/anti-establishment poetry that I’ve really been able to wrap my head around. When I worked in Washington, DC, lo these many years ago, I was rather put off by activists who urged protection for the trees while using reams of paper at a time to leaflet Capitol Hill; and anti-water-privatization people who didn’t seem to realize that some water doesn’t come out of the ground in drinkable forms, and needs to go through an expensive purification plant.

Talking about this with my friend B as we drove past a house we both like today, that’s now for sale, we professed amazement that such a modest old house could possibly sell for $625,000. B described friends of his in Maine who try to ‘live off the grid’ but who don’t really like to acknowledge that the down payment on their house and land came from their parents, who are as tied into the corporate money-making machine as it is possible to be; that their solar panels or their geothermal heating system was paid for with tainted cash. B and I both live simply, for the most part, but our salaries come from being caretakers for the children of the wealthy who are busy exploiting the planet for personal gain. Does that make us exploiters? As the US occupation – er, adventure — in Iraq continues to unravel and spiral further out of control, I find my own sense of myself, my family, my nation, and my world unraveling. I have less sense about what I am doing or am called to do in the world now than I did two or five or ten years ago, and I was never very certain even then.

‘s piece touched this fault line in me, and as Keats suggested a good poem must do, I may never quite be whole again.

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