Jeff Gangwer

Freshman - 504 Points (September 23,1984 / Hood River, Oregon)

I Love The Seventh Grade - Poem by Jeff Gangwer

I love the seventh grade;
Instead of whipping the horses,
I’m holding the reigns back

They laugh without restraint—
Excited about nothing—
Points that are ultimately meaningless—
Overjoyed to earn something without material worth

If only their joy continued—
From year to year,
From junior high...to high school,
And from high school...to wherever the hell they end up—
Before the boys discover the pleasures of sex without commitment,
Before the girls gain weight and discover how ugly they are when they look in the mirror,
And before they all learn how truly insignificant they are in the big bad world

I tell them that they’re capable of anything
And that they’re handsome and beautiful:
“Don’t sell yourself short.
“Be bold; be daring; be strong.
“You can become what you will.”

I teach them the value of self-worth—
Not to be confused with self-esteem:
“You’re not worthless.
“And don’t let anyone tell you that you are.
“Each of you is worth something to someone.”

And I hope that I’m not lying to them;
I hope that somebody, somewhere, values them

If not, I hope that they gain the good sense to find someone who will


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 12, 2015



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