The Sixties

by Rob Couteau

Published in:
Out of Our, Feb. 2011
(CA: San Francisco)

The Sixties

In the 1960s
I attended St. Mary’s
Elementary School
and was taught about the world
by rabid anti-Semitic nuns
dressed in medieval
black and white,
as sexless
and soulless
as jello.
But in the 6th grade
two new nuns appeared,
hippy nuns
Sister Maryjane
and Sister Magellan.
They were younger
and feistier than the others,
and there was a playful restlessness
in their lucid regard.

One day after lunch,
Magellan entered the room
while I was alone with Maryjane
and she carried the skeleton
of a fish.
Her eyes were wide
with wonder.
She held the bones
as if they were made
of finest porcelain
and said Look,
and astonished
we saw the handiwork
of cosmos.
Like Blake’s fiery dynamos of light,
bones exquisitely designed:
shapes and contours
with the touch
of genius.
Then Magellan asked
if I’d like to take it home.
Immediately I declined,
fearful my parents
would only smell
the stink of fish
and stare at it
in bewilderment.
No, this was to be
our secret.

That day
they taught me something
no priest or soothsayer
could ever teach,
and they did so wordlessly ~
with flames of compassion
in their unfettered eyes.


 fine art

Updated: 12 June 2011 | All text Copyright © 2011 | Rob Couteau | key words: poems about the 1960s | poetry about the nuns elementary school | the Sixties