The First Day of School

The First Day of School

My mother is tired of this world
She is silent and impatient
With the inexorable gravity
That encumbers each step and
Forces surrender to the waiting bed

I’m a middle-aged woman now
Struggling to look jaunty as I run
So as not to shame my children
Riding past me on the school bus

Just a moment ago at the bus stop
My son crouched to whisper
In his sister’s ear, “In Kindergarten
You have to pay attention to your teacher
And listen to every word she says.”

These words are weightless and indissoluble –
As indelibly engraved upon his heart as on mine
These are my mother’s words, flitting now
Like butterflies on the school bus
Lumbering up the hill.


When I was a child, every morning before I left for school my mother would say, “Pay attention to your teacher. Listen to every word she says.” On my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten, as we were waiting for the bus to come, I was shocked to hear the very same words of advice coming out of her older brother’s mouth. I hadn’t even realized that I’d been echoing my mother’s words to my own children. After seeing all three of my children onto the school bus for the very first time, I started off for a run. I ruminated about the passage of time and the way in which words can be both weighty and weightless. They never age, and they can outlast us all.

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I am marking the occasion of my 111th post with a list of fabulous words that all have something to do with…words!

The first ones on my list all have to do with being too verbose, something I could easily be accused of after seven months of posting:

logorrhea/logomania – excessive wordiness

graphorrhea/graphomania – excessive writing

prolixity – excessive wordiness

If you were to drop some of these words into a casual conversation, you might be accused of being:

sesquipedalian, or using overly long, highfalutin words

And finally, a word that could be used to describe the act of writing a personal blog:

omphaloskepsis, or navel-gazing