It’s true that school is great for teaching gerunds, nouns and clauses.
Also for the how-to-do’s, the whens and the becauses.
And so I don’t regret my years in university
learning of the human mind and its diversity.
Couplets, sonnets, iambs—their knowledge served me well.
Chaucer took me to Canterbury. Dante? Straight to Hell.
Will Shakespeare gave me standards of wit to try to mimic,
and modern poets formed my taste from Oliver to Simic.
But where I really found a classroom that appealed to me
was after school was over, when I was finally free.
Backpacking was geography: islands, mainlands, seas,
and I learned my geology rock-hunting on my knees.
I learn a little bit of life from everyone I meet—
the art of speech in barrooms, diplomacy in the street.
Biology from baby birds fallen from the nest
and taught to fly from towel racks, their wings put to the test.
All the art I ever studied simply came from looking—
geometry in midnight skies, chemistry in cooking.
And though the internet gives facts in every form and guise,
It’s life that serves us best because it’s life that makes us wise.
The prompt word today is educate. This is a rewrite of a poem written over two years ago.