Wednesday, October 7, 2015


“I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead - ahead of myself as well as you.” 
― George Bernard Shaw


The first time I raised my hand in class
to volunteer a correct answer with my mousy fearful voice,
I think some of the girls fell off their chairs
before the hush of shock silenced the room.
Mother Cephas, (whose real name I use),
couldn't hide her excitement over
the shy little girl's triumph.

Mother Cephas cheered me on,
until I thought I could,
until I could, until I did.

She knew it wasn't all about academics.
They were only part of her life lessons,
balanced with kindness.

"The word that best describes you is patience,"
she said one day.  Perhaps I lived up to it.
She'll never know.
I don't even remember if I said "Thank you," 
the last time I saw her.

For Poets United where Susan asks us to write about teachers.


  1. A lovely poem of gratitude. Mother Cephas would be chuffed.You are probably the only person who has ever written a poem about her.A teacher like this is a pearl.

  2. Often it is so hard to take that first step to volunteer and answer and it is so important that right or wrong you are not discouraged from trying again. Don't worry about not saying thank you she probably saw that in your eyes.

  3. I remember being that shy student too and seeing my teacher's happy smiles when I do participate and speak up ~ I enjoyed the personal share of Mother Cephas Myrna ~ You are lucky to have someone cheered you on ~

  4. Oh Myrna, how I love this story. Thank heaven for kind teachers.

  5. They were only part of the life lessons.

    How true a statement that is. Most of what can be learned at school will never help you pass an end of year test, but it will help you get through life.

    It sounds like your teacher was a great encourager.

  6. They are the rare ones who stand out. And they made a difference in our lives.


  7. Thanks for this poem! It's a wonderful story. I love that she was both kind and excited, that she gave you the word "patience." You thanked her by
    "I thought I could,
    until I could, until I did."
    That's the best thanks a teacher could ever have!

  8. Everyone needs at least one Mother Cephas in their life. I am so glad you found yours.
    We never do thank them at the time (which is so very sad), but remember them kindly always.

  9. It is wonderful to read about how she touched your life! It sounds like she had a gift of perception!

  10. Mother Cephas brought out a gem out of you...a wonderful teacher who could foresee the future of her pupil...

  11. I hope she knows and am sure if she can see she will know the thank is in your words..not just today but always

  12. There is such emotion in your verse...! She knows of your love & gratitude.. of that I m sure :D Beautifully penned!

    Lots of love,

  13. The raising of your hand brought her joy. That was the "Thank You."


  14. Inspiring piece, Myrna. Patience and perseverance do have magical effect....Very well penned.

  15. I was that same shy girl in class. I'm sure I made some people fall off their chairs too when I would venture to answer a question. :) I'm sure your dear teacher knew that you were grateful for her kindness to you.

  16. This is lovely! Sometimes, the joy of teaching is all we need!

  17. How blessed we are, who have met such special teachers.

  18. Aww. This is special. A lovely tribute. We all have that one teacher you made a huge impact to our lives

  19. oh wow
    she sounds like an awesome teacher
    and one more proof of how big a teacher's influence in a student's life can be - in a good way and unfortunately in not so good ways as well

  20. What a gift a good teacher can be.