Moment to Moment

(agreeing with Stephen Dunn)

Moment to moment, we learned
more at recess than we learned,
moment to moment, in any class.
Learned how to decide upon the extra
boy at extra shortstop between first
and second, learned the poetry
of jump rope and why boys could
only watch, and jeer when we
were caught watching. Learned
thereby the diplomacies of nations.

But if it weren’t for the classes,
the drudgery of carrying numbers,
the humiliation of coming back
from measles being confined
to one column still, but also
the rare moments of high
excitement, that some of us
don’t need to love a wall,
then we would have learned nothing
from the moments of recess,
the bloodless ways to topple
columns and walls, the timing
of our courteous disestablishments.

Richard Fenton Sederstrom was raised and lives in the North Woods of Minnesota and the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. He is the author of four books of poetry, notably Disordinary Light, and most recently Eumaeus Tends, based on the few lines of The Odyssey that are axial to our understanding of the power and complexities of love. A new book, Selenity Book Four will appear next winter. Read other articles by Richard Fenton.