Did I miss anything (Tom Wayman)


twitter: @eugenio_fouz

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I wonder sometimes how to make my students learn that attendance to class is vital. I have just found out this poem written by Tom Wayman.

***

Did I Miss Anything

Tom Wayman

Did I miss anything?

Question frequently asked by

students after missing a class

Nothing. When we realized you weren’t here

we sat with our hands folded on our desks

in silence, for the full two hours

Everything. I gave an exam worth

40 per cent of the grade for this term

and assigned some reading due today

on which I’m about to hand out a quiz

worth 50 per cent

Nothing. None of the content of this course

has value or meaning

Take as many days off as you like:

any activities we undertake as a class

I assure you will not matter either to you or me

and are without purpose

Everything. A few minutes after we began last time

a shaft of light descended and an angel

or other heavenly being appeared

and revealed to us what each woman or man must do

to attain divine wisdom in this life and

the hereafter

This is the last time the class will meet

before we disperse to bring this good news to all people

on earth

Nothing. When you are not present

how could something significant occur?

Everything. Contained in this classroom

is a microcosm of human existence

assembled for you to query and examine and ponder

This is not the only place such an opportunity has been

gathered but it was one place

And you weren’t here

 

(Originally Published in: The Astonishing Weight of the Dead. Vancouver: Polestar, 1994.)

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