The Hand

Mary Ruefle

 
The teacher asks a question.
You know the answer, you suspect
you are the only one in the classroom
who knows the answer, because the person
in question is yourself, and on that
you are the greatest living authority,
but you donít raise your hand.
You raise the top of your desk
and take out an apple.
You look out the window.
You donít raise your hand and there is
some essential beauty in your fingers,
which arenít even drumming, but lie
flat and peaceful.
The teacher repeats the question.
Outside the window, on an overhanging branch,
a robin is ruffling its feathers
and spring is in the air.
 
Reprinted from Cold Pluto: by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press © by Mary Ruefle 1996.

Poems by This Author

Mimosa by Mary Ruefle
Pink dandruff of some tree
Sentimental Education by Mary Ruefle
Ann Galbraith / loves Barry Soyers.
The Daze by Mary Ruefle
It was one of those mornings the earth seemed
The Letter by Mary Ruefle
Beloved, men in thick green coats came crunching


Further Reading

Poems about Hands
A Bird in Hand
by Amber Flora Thomas
A Hand
by Jane Hirshfield
After the Grand Perhaps
by Lucie Brock-Broido
Amaze
by Adelaide Crapsey
Consider the Hands that Write This Letter
by Aracelis Girmay
Hands
by Siv Cedering
Out-of-the-Body Travel
by Stanley Plumly
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
by E. E. Cummings
Spring is like a perhaps hand
by E. E. Cummings
The Artist's Hand
by D. A. Powell
The Balloon of the Mind
by W. B. Yeats
The Book of the Dead Man (Your Hands)
by Marvin Bell
This Living Hand
by John Keats
To You
by Walt Whitman
Back to School Poems
Apples
by Grace Schulman
Being Jewish in a Small Town
by Lyn Lifshin
Evening Walk as the School Year Starts
by Sydney Lea
First Gestures
by Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Gradeschool's Large Windows
by Thomas Lux
In Michael Robinsís class minus one
by Bob Hicok
M. Degas Teaches Art & Science at Durfee Intermediate School, Detroit 1942
by Philip Levine
Mary's Lamb
by Sarah Josepha Hale
Niggerlips
by MartŪn Espada
Nonsense Alphabet
by Edward Lear
One A.M. [excerpt]
by David Young
Panty Raid
by Terri Ford
Pledge
by Elizabeth Powell
Sentimental Education
by Mary Ruefle
Sick
by Shel Silverstein
The High-School Lawn
by Thomas Hardy
The Junior High School Band Concert
by David Wagoner
The Testing-Tree
by Stanley Kunitz
Theme for English B
by Langston Hughes
We Real Cool
by Gwendolyn Brooks
Why Latin Should Still Be Taught in High School
by Christopher Bursk
You and Your Ilk
by Thomas Lux
Essays About Teaching
Rose, Where Did You Get That Red? [excerpt]
by Kenneth Koch
The Read-Aloud Handbook [excerpt]
by Jim Trelease
A Treasury of Read-Alouds: Poetry for Children
by Jim Trelease
Can Poets Teach?: On Writers Teaching Writing
by Joan Houlihan
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Poetry
by Bill Zavatsky
First Gestures
by Julia Spicher Kasdorf
Gimmicks
by Ron Padgett
How I Teach Poetry in the Schools
by Jack Collom
Kindness
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Serious Play: Reading Poetry with Children
Teaching Poetry: Accurate Songs, or Thinking-in-Poetry
by Eleanor Cook
The Accomplished and the Insufficient: What Readers Should Ask From a Poem
by Thom Ward
The Teacher
by Hilarie Jones
Why Latin Should Still Be Taught in High School
by Christopher Bursk
With Tenure
by David Lehman
You Begin
by Margaret Atwood