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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Park (10/25/12)

TITLE: A Lesson Well Learned
By Verna Cole Mitchell
10/30/12


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I was young, very young
A long, long time ago,
With many mistakes to make
And numerous lessons to learn.

New graduate, new bride,
New teacher, new driver,
I set out with high hopes
To make my mark strong in the world.

Among the early errors that I made,
The one that shines the brightest
Occurred one autumn afternoon
On an Indiana highway.

I slumped into the driver’s seat
At the end of a long, tiring day
Of teaching action verbs to those
Who’d rather act than learn them.

When I started the long drive homeward,
The car became as active as my students.
It jerked, it jived, it jumped,
And I could not control it.

At the end of my terrifying trip,
I ran up the steps to our apartment,
Skipping every other step—
Remember, I was very young.

In complete distress, I exploded with tears
Into the arms of my new husband
And told him how our wayward car
Had developed a mind of its own.

As he sat in the driver’s seat to seek a solution,
He turned to me and asked,
Did you just set the emergency brake,
Or did you drive all the way home in “Park”?

Now we all know the answer to that!
With new brakes and tires realigned,
At a cost far beyond our budget,
I was ready to drive again.

With yet many mistakes to make
And numerous lessons to learn,
I had learned one lesson well.
I never drove the car again in “Park.”

I’ve had no jerking, no jiving, no jumping
In my car’s performance since,
But as to my sparkling, spirited, springy students,
They’re always active in “Park.”


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This article has been read 310 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Hawbaker 11/04/12
Interesting take on the subject! Well written. Curious as to why you choose to tell it in poetry rather than prose?
Beth LaBuff 11/04/12
I love your alliteration with those "action verbs" "jerked, it jived, it jumped." Your subtle humor, "Remember, I was very young" made me smile (oh can I relate to that). :) I think my favorite phrase is your personification with "'wayward' car." Then your last stanza ties everything together perfectly. Who would have thought that students and a car could have something in common. I love that. You have a gift with rhythm in words and phrases making this perfect for a poetic format.
Nancy Bucca11/07/12
Now here's a different and creative take on the topic. "Teaching action verbs to those who'd rather act than learn them" is my favorite. Another one is "The car became as active as my students." Great job.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/08/12
Congratulations for ranking 9th in level four and 14th overall!