Loses his position on worksheet or page in textbook
May speak much but makes little sense
Cannot give clear verbal instructions
Does not understand what he reads
Does not understand what he hears
Cannot handle “yes-no” questions
Has great difficulty interpreting proverbs
Has difficulty recalling what he ate for breakfast, etc.
Cannot tell a story from a picture
Cannot recognize visual absurdities
Has difficulty classifying and categorizing objects
Has difficulty retaining such things as
addition and subtraction facts, or multiplication tables
May recognize a word one day and not the next
- Tom Wayman, 1989
I can't wait to talk about this heartbreaking yet ultimately triumphant sonnet (of sorts) with my students because its effect turns on complex relationships among poet/creator, title, tone, content, and reader's response. And yet it's immediately accessible.
FYI: Wayman is a Canadian poet who lives and works in Calgary and BC, and two of his poems are featured on Poetry 180 (an excellent site for easily accessible poems). You might want to read "Did I Miss Anything?" when you visit his author page at Canadian Poetry Online. (All you teachers out there will recognize the question and may smile at his speaker's multiple responses...)
p.s. I'll bring this to my students as one of a trio of poems, including WCW's "This Is Just To Say", talk a bit about "found" and "concrete" poetry (I'll define those clearly but apply them broadly), and then send us all out on our own scavenger hunt to find most painful and triumphant words and things of our lives. We'll then use that material as a springboard for our own poems.