08 May 2015

05 May 2015


 I open my lunch box.

Inside I find a delicious sandwich
Made with a special ingredient.

No meal made by my own hands
Could ever be the equal
To one made for me with love.

©2015-Art Belliveau

04 May 2015

seventh graders

seventh graders
frantic, hormonal
talking, laughing, crying
life's a roller coaster
my kids

©2015-Art Belliveau

30 April 2015

Rondolet for Heather

Your lovely face
Brings to my heart enormous joy
Your lovely face
Reminds me nothing can replace
My very own Helen of Troy
You are truly the real McCoy
Your lovely face

©2015-Art Belliveau

29 April 2015

Late April Inservice

Wednesday, after school, an inservice class meets
in the library to talk about iPads.
Nervously, the anxious instructor smiles, greets
us, tries to put us at ease, knowing we've scads
of things we'd really rather be doing now.
It's spring, we're antsy, so she'll have to allow
for our fatigue--we're almost slap happy here--
as we learn new things that will help us--next year.

©2015-Art Belliveau

27 April 2015

Grading Papers

Sitting alone in my room,
Grading papers after class.
Wanting desperately to give good grades,

But knowing I will deal out fair grades.
The only way to give them growing room
When they all come back to class.

And I know that tomorrow, in class,
When I hand them back their grades,
I'll have to motivate the room.

"Class, remember, with revision there is room to raise your grades."

©2015-Art Belliveau

Looking for a Metaphor

I thought
for a long time
that I was a catalyst.
I was there to speed up
and sometimes start
my students and their thinking.
A catalyst in chemical reactions
does that.
And I was proud of my metaphor.
Not being a science teacher,
I discovered my understanding
of a catalyst was flawed.
A catalyst does indeed start
and/or speed up a chemical reaction--
but in doing so,
it remains unchanged.
And after twenty-eight years of teaching
there is one thing I am sure of...
teaching all these kids has changed me.
So I think I need a different metaphor--
I am not the same person
who started this ride so long ago.
I am different in ways both good and bad
but there is no way
I could do this
and remain

©2015-Art Belliveau

25 April 2015


springtime afternoon
ducks gobbling strawberries
dogs circle the fence

©2015-Art Belliveau


your love
is rain
falling on my

©2015-Art Belliveau

23 April 2015


sun shines through window
illuminating the test
but not the answers

©2015-Art Belliveau

21 April 2015

Be Careful What You Wish For

When the new kid came to class,
All the others pointed and laughed.
He wasn't dressed right, wasn't cool,
It gave them the green light to be cruel.

He really wasn't so different from the rest.
But he became the butt of every jest
With each giggle, laugh, guffaw,
They magnified his every flaw,

Until he could do nothing right.
And all his days were fraught with fright.
He knew whatever he'd do, he'd be wrong.
He tried so hard to stay strong.

But all he wanted was to fade away.
Finally there came a day,
When as he'd come did, he slunk into class,
And no one tripped him--no one laughed.

No one pointed or made a face,
He felt his heart begin to race.
Would they at last leave him alone?
Too much to ask, he thought with a groan.

But no one even looked at him,
Soon it was time for class to begin.
He sat in his seat as the teacher called roll,
He tried to call, Present," but had no control.

His voice was gone, not a sound came out,
So he lifted his hand and waved it about.
She called him once more, then moved on to the next,
He put his hand down, and sat there, perplexed.

She hadn't seen him, in fact no one had,
Was this real happening, or had he gone mad?
He got up from his seat, and walked up to her desk.
The whole situation had become kafkaesque.

She still didn't see him, or hear him at all,
So he walked boldly into the hall.
He went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror.
The truth, when he saw it, couldn't be clearer,

He was invisible, and no one could hear him,
His wish had been granted, but that didn't cheer him.
More lonely than ever he ran from the school,
He got what he wanted, he felt like a fool.

He never returned; he never was found.
The kids picked another for all to put down.

©2015-Art Belliveau

20 April 2015

Room 509

my classroom
after school
teachers joking
students leaving
chairs on desks
lights out
ten months a year
my second home

©2015-Art Belliveau

19 April 2015


tornado warning
the skies look unthreatening
but looks can deceive

©2015-Art Belliveau

test week

wasting my time
spinning my wheels
another week gone
unnecessary stress
test week 2015

©2015-Art Belliveau

empty walls

empty walls
posters taken down
so boring
testing takes priority
over teaching kids

©2015-Art Belliveau

16 April 2015


I love my Christmas presents;
They're exactly what I wanted.
Each and every one is just what I preferred.

Mom and Dad got all these presents.
And they decided where to hide them.
Luckily for me, I overheard.

So now I have one giant problem,
With my brand new Christmas presents:
I opened them December Twenty-third.

©2015-Art Belliveau

15 April 2015

randomness: four senryu

i reach for the words
which skitter-scatter away
playing hide and seek

the noise in my head
could drown out a hurricane--
wait--what did you say?

almost the last page
can't wait to finish the book--
wish it were longer

turtle crossing road
macadam almost melting--
somebody help him!

©2015-Art Belliveau

14 April 2015


You just don't understand.
You never did,
for all you are a genius.
The genius.
You understand the architecture of engineering.
You understand mechanics and rudimentary physics.
Your knowledge of the physical world is unparalleled.

But Papa,
your only child,
your only son--
you don't know me at all.

You made me those wings
and you warned me,
"Don't fly too high, my son. The heat will melt the wax"

But how high is too high?
With you there is an exact number.
All I can do is wing it.

How can I remain low and lowly
when you have given me the means to soar?
I feel the joy and the freedom.
I can't pretend I don't.

I refuse to pretend I don't.

How could you not know
merely by putting the idea in my head,
that I would have to try it?

You didn't know, though.
People are a mystery to you.
I am a mystery to you.

Up I go.

You were right, of course.
I fly too close to the golden chariot.
The wax melts.
The feathers molt.
And a new sensation comes to me.

In your head you can do the math;
you can tell how fast I'm falling.
You know how hard I'll hit.

What I know is the joy of soaring.
The laughter of exuberance.
I know that the wind screaming past me
causes my blood to rush through my veins.
And rushing to the waves below,
I scream with the wind,
not in fear, but in defiance!

Do not be sad, Papa.
Do not blame yourself.
I don't.
I thank you.
You gave me choice.
One I made willingly.
I love you.

©2015-Art Belliveau

13 April 2015

12 April 2015

late Sunday night

late Sunday night
the stars hide behind clouds
and the windblown rain
taps the windows for attention
i drowse on and off on the couch
as my unfinished lesson plans call
and my ungraded papers nag
pulling me back from the brink
each time i begin to fall

tomorrow comes too soon

©2015-Art Belliveau

11 April 2015

senryu for Heather

everywhere we went
with every word that you spoke
i heard poetry

©2015-Art Belliveau

10 April 2015


"I need a pencil!"
this cry is flung out to the universe
or maybe just the classroom
or maybe aimed just for me
i have lost count
of how many times
i hear this
every single day
i hear this
"I need a pencil!"
shouted out plaintively
so many
many times
and the simplicity of this need
makes me a little jealous
i think of all the things that i need
and find my needs are not so simple
nor so simply met:
i need love and closeness
i need space
i need people
i need for those people to respect my boundaries
i need my family
i need them in my life
but not too close
(600 miles is just about right)
i need to feel like
        in this life that i have been granted
that i have been useful
that i have made some kind of a difference
even if it is just the difference
of whether or not
a student's need for a pencil is met
"Here's a pencil. Get to work."
i just hope
i just need
for this to NOT be
the only difference i make today

©2015-Art Belliveau

09 April 2015


So many days on my teaching journey
all I seem to do is try to make the slightest headway
and my Students seem to be working on their resistance
when i was Younger, it didn't seem so hard
it seemed i just Played with them, and they learned
and it just effortlessly Happened, though that cannot be correct
because memories don't reflect reality Under most circumstances
So the effort i put in before slides past my awareness as i continue slogging on.

©2015-Art Belliveau

08 April 2015

date night

as we prepare to leave
dogs barking
annoyed at being left behind
sending us on our way
with an extra load of guilt

©2015-Art Belliveau

07 April 2015


Wrote haiku and senryu with my students today. They seemed to have as much fun as me!

change is in the air
naked to completely clothed
suddenly springtime

students struggle to
create order from chaos
they write their haiku

my tummy rumbles
I dash to the closest john
I ate corn last night

a hot, summer night
staring overhead I see
ice chips in the sky

where is the right word?
I chase it everywhere, but
it eludes my grasp

they ask when it's due
and how many they should write
they need to focus

a problem solver
answering the tough questions
I could use a break

hot, bubbling water
easing away tension caused
by seventh graders

the diff'rence between
whispering and shouting is
lost on my students

desperate to finish
they look for short cuts and not
original thoughts

©2015-Art Belliveau

06 April 2015

Good Question

Tommy is drawing a picture.
Carol's chatting on her phone.
Tray is singing his favorite song.
Clara's showing how bubbles are blown.

Kiki is snoring quite loudly.
Terry is going berserk.
All while the teacher is trying to teach.
So how can I do my class work?

©2015-Art Belliveau

05 April 2015


bare branch'd yesterday
now exploding yellow buds
attack the spring morn

©2015-Art Belliveau

04 April 2015


chilly springtime night
the peeping of baby ducks
echoes in darkness

©2015-Art Belliveau

03 April 2015

A Fairy Good Idea!

The tooth fairy came to my house last night.
And I'll tell you the truth--
She left me a brand new $5 bill,
In place of my fallen out tooth!

But that is nothing to the dough I'll get,
Tonight when I put underneath
My pillow a guaranteed money maker--
Grandpa's full set of false teeth!!

©2015-Art Belliveau

02 April 2015

Table Manners

I didn't set the table;
I didn't cook the food;
I didn't clean up after--
At the restaurant that is rude.

©2015-Art Belliveau

01 April 2015


i am typing a poem
while listening to poem
waiting for your kiss
and all I can do
is all I can do
and loving you is
more melodic than the poem i'm listening to
more poetic than the poem i am typing on the computer screen
and your pickle-flavored kiss is more precious to me
than the rest of spring break spread out before
and all the time i will have therein to listen to poems
and to write poems
but less precious than all those kisses
we have waiting for us ahead
and the smile i bring to your lips
with my multitasking virtuosity
is warmer than the the heat of the shower
that i just took
the soap and the water washing away the past
leaving our future open and i am ready for it
but only when i can share it
with you

©2015-Art Belliveau

Love Story

I don't care if they're short or tall,
Fat or thin, I love them all.
Big or little, fancy or plain,
I don't care--they drive me insane.
What's inside is what's important,
And not the looks--
I am totally in love with books!

©2015-Art Belliveau

17 March 2015

No Luck?

I want to find a four-leaf clover.
I've been searching hard all day.
I hope to find one 'fore the sun sets,
That's all I have to say.
I just can't seem to find one,
Though my hope is still alive.
I'll just wish I find a four-leaf clover
On this clover that has five.

©2015-Art Belliveau

03 March 2015

2 senryu

shadows in my soul
fighting to claw thier way out
i bar their exit

why is it some days
i walk half huddled over
by transparent weight?

©2015-Art Belliveau

02 March 2015


the back of my neck
feels the breath of the black dog
my neck hairs stand straight

©2015-Art Belliveau

10 January 2015

So Far, So Good

So far today is going great,
Not one thing has gone wrong.
I have not once been running late,
Nor felt I don’t belong.

So far today I’ve not felt tired,
Nor the need to procrastinate.
I’ve not felt all uninspired,
Or the least inadequate.

Not one time have I felt depressed, nope,
Not once have I felt spineless.
I’m positive and full of hope,
Filled with the milk of human kindness.

I really want to keep this up,
And help these feelings spread.
I yawn and open my eyes, yup,
It’s time to get out of bed!

©2015-Art Belliveau

08 January 2015

Winter Poem

It's really windy out today,
It's blowing really hard.
I just saw the neighbor's doghouse
Flying through my yard.

And even though the sun is out,
It's really super cold.
I saw a flock of penguins,
As through my yard they strolled.

I think that I will stay inside,
Where it's so nice and warm.
Drink my cocoa, read my book,
That's my cold weather norm.

©2015-Art Belliveau