Schoolyard Gifts

By Christine Payack
Spring 2012

Schoolyard Gifts


House sparrows adorn
our window feeders.
Both adhere firmly
to the classroom panes.
Pointing fingers,
wide eyes and
sounds of surprise
pierce through our day.
House sparrows!   They’re house sparrows!

A voice of mixed alarm and wonder greets me in the morning.
“I saw a dead bird on the ground.
It was beautiful!”
“What did it look like?” I ask.
Wait.
In the field guide.
There it is!
Iridescent speckles, yellow bill,
A European starling!
Isn’t it beautiful?

At recess, nests are winter gifts laid bare before us.
In spring, feathers are rare jewels we search for on the ground.
Children’s treasures become daily lessons,
teaching the teacher to look with wonder and belief.
The ordinary is the extraordinary.
I learn and I believe.

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