I chose this poem for the science theme as it would not be my most natural way of viewing the world. This is good for it gives my students the opportunity to explore more ideas that might inspire them. And, we all remember what it feels like wanting to be the favorite student of a teacher. (See poem.) As far as writing in response to the poem, I found myself able to use recent tidbits of scientific news and relate them to my life and things that have been on my mind about who I am. It was fun and more relevant than I thought in expressing a new weaving of thoughts.
Ego Denise Duhamel
I just didn’t get it—
even with the teacher holding an orange (the earth) in one hand
and a lemon (the moon) in the other,
her favorite student (the sun) standing behind her with a flashlight.
I just couldn’t grasp it—
this whole citrus universe, these bumpy planets revolving so slowly
no one could even see themselves moving.
I used to think if I could only concentrate hard enough
I could be the one person to feel what no one else could,
sense a small tug from the ground, a sky shift, the earth changing gears.
Even though I was only one mini-speck on a speck,
even though I was merely a pinprick in one goosebump on the orange,
I was sure then I was the most specially perceptive, perceptively sensitive.
I was sure then my mother was the only mother to snap,
“The world doesn’t revolve around you!”
The earth was fragile and mostly water,
just the way the orange was mostly water if you peeled it
just the way I was mostly water if you peeled me.
Looking back on that third grade science demonstration,
I can understand why some people gave up on fame or religion or cures—
especially people who have an understanding
of the excruciating crawl of the world,
who have a well-developed sense of spatial reasoning
and the tininess that it is to be one of us.
But not me—even now I wouldn’t mind being god, the force
who spins the planets the way I spin a globe, a basketball, a yo-yo.
I wouldn’t mind being that teacher who chooses the fruit,
or that favorite kid who gives the moon its glow.