April 19, 2024
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April 19, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The  author  was  asked  to  come  into  school  to  pack  up  her  students’  materials.  She  wrote  this  poem  after  she  saw  the  empty  school  on  April  28,  frozen  in  time  as  if  it  were  still  March  12. 


The teacher’s desk called out to all the student’s desks to say:

“I’m glad to see that there are still no kids with us today!”

“But why?” Replied the desks, “don’t you like when people come?”

“Well yes, I do, you know it’s true, but listen, everyone.

I’m sad to say that we still may have germs upon ourselves!

And that is why we’re left to cry since school has now been shelved.

The bulletin board called out to the poster down the hall,

“Hello, old friend, I see that we are not being changed at all!”

“Well yes, you see, since March we’ve been Just hanging here alone,

With no one walking by to see the work the kids have done.”

The school yard heard the whistling of the leaves across the grass

And felt nostalgic for the noise of class right after class.

The lunch tables, so clean and smooth, felt sorry to be bare

Without the wrappers, sandwiches and children sitting there.

The gym with sunlight streaming through upon its empty floors

Just waited for the sound of squeaky sneakers through its doors.

And in the principal’s office, the computer called the phone,

“Where is everybody? No more meetings? We’re all alone!”

Every little mezuzah hung, just waiting to be kissed

By hundreds of little children, but alas, they all were missed.

The shul, the siddurim, and the shtender stood in silence and all wept.

Their pain, too much to bear now that the children home are kept.

“Where are all their voices? All their prayers? All their songs?

How can we ever stand to be without them for this long?”

The longing of school to see the children once again

It echoes through the empty hallways, classrooms and offices.

Each child, each teacher, each person from the school, one family

And in our hearts we pray that soon together we will be.

Sorah Shaffren of Bergenfield has been teaching in New Jersey for 15 years, and is currently a fourth grade Judaic Studies and fifth grade general studies teacher at RYNJ. She is the creative director of Meorot, the annual Bergen County all girls production that benefits NCSY summer programs. She is the program director at Camp Dina for girls. Request to follow @sorahshaffren on Instagram. 

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