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A Teacher's Dizain
  • Art
  • Literature
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Timothy Bartel
I've been a teacher now for eighteen years, and I have become accustomed to a sort of mental and emotional shift that must take place within myself about halfway through each August. The autumnal equinox is over a month away, but for me, it feels like summer must officially be treated as over (nevermind the 100 degree temperatures!). I admit that this is all a bit subjective, but the advent of classes has always seemed to me the advent of fall, and many times over the years I have sought to express this feeling of transition in writing.
Just a few weeks ago, I tried again, this time in a new poetic form with which I've been experimenting: the dizain. The dizain is a medieval French poetic form, which consists of ten lines of iambic pentameter (ten syllables, wherein each even syllable is stressed). These lines must have a strict rhyme scheme of ABABBCCDCD. As you can see, the dizain is like a more abbreviated sonnet, and the rhymes become quite intense in the central section of the poem. I've enjoyed the challenge of trying to puzzle through writing in this form. 
Below you'll find one result of my experimentation with the dizain, in which I try once again to describe the teacher's saying goodbye to summer, and turning to face the school year:

A Teacher's Dizain


The summer ends for me more soon than you,

Though earth and sun continue their same dance—

It's only my own hemisphere that's through

With rest and quietude and that long glance

Up to the bough-streaked sky. There is a stance

My body undertakes in August, crouched

And autumn-eager. Others may be couched

In living rooms, but I'm consulting pages

Fast planning out the students' study. Slouched

And summer-dazed, they'll pass through wisdom's stages.