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Gary Margolis reflects on student trip

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Posted on May 7, 2014 |
By Gary Margolis



Standing With Your Diversified Occupation

Students at the Wall and Later

at the National Gallery 

Some of them have never flown before,

crossed a border, slept away from home.

All of them can read a carved-in name,

 

trace a carving in a stone.

You’ve taught them to learn with

their hands, to go beyond themselves

 

when they can. To take their place

as citizens, biking on MLK’s mall.

They’ve heard his words.

 

They understand to dream

when others think they can’t.

You’ll have to teach them on this trip

 

what a cherry blossom is

and why it’s blossomed here and not

where they live in Vermont.

 

Nothing’s too basic to be learned.

Even, in our nation’s gallery,

where they’ve never been.

 

Where the guide is trying

to explain, as best she can,

how this artist thought to paint

 

a leafing spring maple tree

and make it seem to fit in the frame

of the window he was painting

 

in front of, looking out from.

So you don’t know if you’re seeing

or dreaming. It has that kind of feeling.

 

How one true thing blends into another.

How his mind, and now theirs, can dream

itself into being here in D.C.

 

How all things leaf out in a paint brush.

How he signed his name, Ren? Magritte,

in the corner of the canvas.

 

So one of your students can shout out,  

I think he was my mother’s cousin!

He knows so many painters,

 

Laroques and Leducs, in Addison County

Vermont. He can fly this memory

home, when he steps off the plane

 

at the end of this week.

When he sees his mother waving

 

behind the guarded, streaming glass. 

— Gary Margolis, Cornwall

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