The Teacher

The Teacher

When we howl, children,
we give it all we’ve got.
Think power, think passion,
send your voice over the mountain,
“I am here, where are you?”

Everyone ready?
Deep breath—
fill out those lungs to the ribcage—
ears back,
nose to the sky,
now yearn! yearn! yearn!
and re-lee-ee-ee-ease.

You just scared the pants off those two-leggeds
down in the valley.

Harriet Ann Ellenberger
25 March 2015

Published by

Harriet Ann Ellenberger

writer, editor, translator; co-founded the journal "Sinister Wisdom"

9 thoughts on “The Teacher”

  1. Cochiti, Red Coyote and I are so glad you put your ears back and nose to the sky today. We hear a slant on come out and play with me–you always do good when you riff on that. The whole poem is Whole-Harriet: the title, the elisions among different registers of informal speech (I bet playing piano plays into your way with that), the turn just before the last two lines–the fun of playing with language. A gift. Your poem is a good thing that happens to us today.


    1. Dear Cochiti, Red Coyote, and Susan — Oh you’re there, over there — I’m so glad to hear you. Makes it all worthwhile.


  2. Hey Harriet, I wanted to just write you for myself, coyote to coyote, to say I heard you over the mountain this morning and you’re the real thing. Thanks for all you do for us coyotes in verse. (Is this the first email you’ve gotten from a coyote with no intermediary?) Your pal, Red


      1. Not to worry, Red. A close relative is a close relative. And speaking of closeness, did you know that far to the north and east of you, coyotes and wolves have been marrying each other for generations now? We do it for love, of course, but also we enjoy how we’re flummoxing the two-leggeds. And the kids are just so cute and so smart — they’d make you proud, Red.
        Oh, and yes, this is my first internet connection with a close relative of the four-legged clans.


        1. Thank you, Harriet, that’s a load off. But NO WAY could it be true about the wolves and coyotes marrying each other! I mean I believe you but what a shocker! As long as they flummox the two-leggeds, and as long as the babies are cute, and as long as they do it for love, that’s a win win win! Thanks for the inside dope. Your pal, Red

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sara. “The Teacher” happened because I had been hanging on to that particular wolf photo, but didn’t have a poem to go with it. The wolf-teacher sounds a lot like an acting teacher — an unintended echo from theatre experience thirty years ago. I got terrifically fond of this wolf-teacher in the process of writing the poem.


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