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Even On My Third Try
Janet McCann


I can’t throw out The Voyage
of Aeneas, the map I used
for forty of my fifty years of teaching

(until PowerPoint.) We had transparencies
and I would trace the trip in erasable
marker, from Troy, down to Perganum,

around the tip of Italy and onward, I would
remind the class of what happened at each
place, read the physical description

from John Malalas' Chronographia:
"Aeneas: short, fat, with a good chest,
powerful, with a ruddy complexion,

a broad face, a good nose,
fair skin, bald on the forehead,
a good beard, grey eyes.’’

All my women students then
proclaimed Dido nuts and we went on,
toward Lavinium, the city he founded

named for his second wife. The PowerPoint
had less effect, the students drowsed. I can’t
throw out my map, companion of our voyage

although I’ll never go that way again.


© by Janet McCann.
Used with the author’s permission.




Janet McCann has been teaching creative writing and other vices to Aggies at Texas A&M for more than forty years. Her award-winning work is widely published in several genres. Janet's most recent collection is The Crone at the Casino, published by Lamar University Press. She is concerned for feral cats and other beings who are overlooked or abused.


Post New Comment:
What brilliant teaching!
Posted 07/28/2016 11:29 AM
This is great!!
Posted 07/27/2016 10:25 PM
Love this poem Janet. Don't throw away the map. When we're done moving, I believe I'll sit down and re-read one of my favorite books.
Posted 07/27/2016 11:56 AM
A shining tribute to teachers & teaching! Great poem.Thanks,Janet.
Posted 07/27/2016 10:47 AM
My cauldron and eye of newt and toe of frogs to conjure up a love of Macbeth were finally discarded. Hopefully, they still live in some of my students' imaginations.
Posted 07/27/2016 09:49 AM
When I retired from teaching middle school five years ago, it was very difficult to say good bye to some of my "props" - thank you Janet for sharing this poem.
Posted 07/27/2016 08:29 AM
Belinda Veldman:
It's so much more than a map, isn't it? Perfectly expressed. Love it!
Posted 07/27/2016 07:21 AM
What fun! The verisimilitude of a lived life. Loved the interjected parentheses.
Posted 07/27/2016 07:11 AM
I'm not a teacher but I just love this poem. makes me want to read about the voyage of Aeneas. Janet, please don't throw out your map. Keep it forever.
Posted 07/27/2016 04:17 AM

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