Friday, May 21, 2021

Mary Lee: You've made a thing

 When I think of Mary Lee, I think of two quotes.  The first is from Parker Palmer:

"Truth is an eternal conversation 

about things that matter conducted with passion and discipline." 

Mary Lee, thank you for teaching and blogging and writing with passion and discipline, and for the chance to be in conversation with you. (And oh, how I wish more of that conversation could've been in person.)

The second quote is from Billy Collins.  It's about poetry, but it speaks to Mary Lee's life's work as a teacher, a blogger, and a writer: 

"To the reader, a poem may seem to be about love or separation or celebration or whatever. 

 But to the poet who is in the process of writing the poem, the poem is about only one thing:

 its make a thing that can stand on its own after you leave the room."  

It's hard to improve on those two quotes, but this poem is for you, Mary Lee. 

After you leave the room

Kids will still murmur; 

books will cast their spells;

pencils, jammed in a jar,

will gossip; desks will chatter

against the floor;

but beneath that, more—

a deeper, singing current,

for you've made a thing,

my friend. It flows out

and on, binding us

together, each voice

brighter, each more true,

standing on our own,

in conversation

with you,


        -----Sara Lewis Holmes

Mary Lee,  you've made a blog. You've made friends.  You've made many, many true poems. You've made a classroom, year after year. And now, as you "leave the room" we rejoice in everything that stands brighter and taller because of you,  and we can't wait to see what you make next.  

Many blessings, and happiness on the river to you!


For more posts about #MarvelousMaryLee, head over to the Poetry Friday roundup today


  1. Sara, beautiful tribute to Mary Lee, the person of the day! Your heart comes through in your poem. Her legacy has been left richly, even as she leaves the room.

  2. Sara, this is so beautiful... I can hear those kids murmuring, just as we all do! Cheers to Mary Lee's passion and discipline and how she inspires us all!

  3. Your poem is so beautiful and heartfelt and so true. The quotes are perfect too!! Loved every word of this post. :)

  4. You've captured 'the thing' Mary Lee has made perfectly in this post. We are all lucky to be 'in conversation' with Mary Lee through her poetry, her teaching, and her humanity. :)

  5. This is lovely - the echoes that ring after she's left the room. Beautiful.

  6. "making a thing" can be a goal for every one of us, and thank goodness, we have Mary Lee as inspiration, right? It's so beautiful, Sara.

  7. What a beautiful post!

  8. I love your poem to Mary Lee, Sara. Thank you for sharing the quotes also.

  9. Yes to all of it. Yes. Yes. Yes. How beautiful to read your heart on the page, Sara.

  10. Wow. When one of the writers you most admire in the world writes a poem for you. THANK YOU!

    I love thinking about that "deeper, singing current," that remains in the classroom and rippling out from every poem and post I've written. I, too, am looking forward to the next thing (and the next, and the next)! May the conversation continue!


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