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  • "The Opposites Game"

  • For Patricia Maisch

  • This day my students and I play the Opposites Game

  • with a line from Emily Dickinson. My life had stood

  • a loaded gun, it goes and I write it on the board,

  • pausing so they can call out the antonyms

  • My Your

  • Life Death

  • Had stood ? Will sit

  • A Many

  • Loaded Empty

  • Gun ?

  • Gun.

  • For a moment, very much like the one between

  • lightning and its sound, the children just stare at me,

  • and then it comes, a flurry, a hail storm of answers

  • Flower, says one. No, Book, says another. That's stupid,

  • cries a third, the opposite of a gun is a pillow. Or maybe

  • a hug, but not a book, no way is it a book. With this,

  • the others gather their thoughts

  • and suddenly it’s a shouting match. No one can agree,

  • for every student there’s a final answer. It's a song,

  • a prayer, I mean a promise, like a wedding ring, and

  • later a baby. Or what’s that person who delivers babies?

  • A midwife? Yes, a midwife. No, that’s wrong. You're so

  • wrong youll never be right again. It's a whisper, a star,

  • it's saying I love you into your hand and then touching

  • someone's ear. Are you crazy? Are you the president

  • of Stupid-land? You should be, When's the election?

  • It’s a teddy bear, a sword, a perfect, perfect peach.

  • Go back to the first one, it's a flower, a white rose.

  • When the bell rings, I reach for an eraser but a girl

  • snatches it from my hand. Nothing's decided, she says,

  • Were not done here. I leave all the answers

  • on the board. The next day some of them have

  • stopped talking to each other, theyve taken sides.

  • There's a Flower club. And a Kitten club. And two boys

  • calling themselves The Snowballs. The rest have stuck

  • with the original game, which was to try to write

  • something like poetry.

  • It's a diamond, it's a dance,

  • the opposite of a gun is a museum in France.

  • It's the moon, it's a mirror,

  • it's the sound of a bell and the hearer.

  • The arguing starts again, more shouting, and finally

  • a new club. For the first time I dare to push them.

  • Maybe all of you are right, I say.

  • Well, maybe. Maybe it's everything we said. Maybe it’s

  • everything we didn't say. It's words and the spaces for words.

  • They're looking at each other now. It's everything in this

  • room

  • and outside this room and down the street and in the sky.

  • It's everyone on campus and at the mall, and all the people

  • waiting at the hospital. And at the post office. And, yeah,

  • it's a flower, too. All the flowers. The whole garden.

  • The opposite of a gun is wherever you point it.

  • Don’t write that on the board, they say. Just say poem.

  • Your death will sit through many empty poems.

"The Opposites Game"


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A2 初級

対戦ゲーム (The Opposites Game)

  • 15 2
    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日