An Education in Regret

education in regret.jpg

He was a boy back then

sitting in my classroom, head down

always primed for a fight as if the enemy that threatened

to swallow all the oxygen in our cramped space

was me, was him…just was


There weren’t many days I could coax a smile from his crooked mouth

but now and then, a glimmer of hope battled his perpetual scowl

and won


Those were days worth remembering


As we moved together in our lopsided dance

progress was made and lost and made again

His intelligence, a saving grace

His rage, a formidable enemy

My efforts, genuine but not quite enough

We both grew weary but pushed ahead


And as our time together drew to a close

I worried but let go, choosing to believe

potential would trump adversity,

that a few years beyond this teenage angst would smooth his rough edges,

that the thoughtfulness behind those angry eyes would persevere


When I read the local paper last night, I recognized it,

the power of anger

His name in black and white listed in a police report

drugs, violence, resisting arrest

still primed for a fight


I remembered his fleeting smile, remembered the hope


and acknowledged the failure that weighs heavy,

wondering if I could have done something to alter the path he now follows

A young man now making choices made that bring real consequences


I mourn for the boy I did not reach



photo: Pixabay


  1. Apologise for a long delay in reading your words/experiences in poetic form…..I can feel the pain in this experience… hopes are dashed and yet we cannot understand why a negative outcome has to happen….


    • No need to apologize! I’m happy you found the time to visit. I’ve been accumulating a wishlist of your artwork…I plan to hang some of your prints so that I can see them as I write. Very inspirational!

      That poem was based on one of my students. It was many years ago but it still bothers me. I wish it could have ended differently.


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