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January 27, 2020
What You Need to Be Warm
a poem by Neil Gaiman
A baked potato of a winter’s night to wrap your hands around or burn your mouth.
A blanket knitted by your mother’s cunning fingers. Or your grandmother’s.
A smile, a touch, trust, as you walk in from the snow
or return to it, the tips of your ears pricked pink and frozen.
The tink tink tink of iron radiators waking in an old house.
To surface from dreams in a bed, burrowed beneath blankets and comforters,
the change of state from cold to warm is all that matters, and you think
just one more minute snuggled here before you face the chill. Just one.
Places we slept as children: they warm us in the memory.
We travel to an inside from the outside. To the orange flames of the fireplace
or the wood burning in the stove. Breath-ice on the inside of windows,
to be scratched off with a fingernail, melted with a whole hand.
Frost on the ground that stays in the shadows, waiting for us.
Wear a scarf. Wear a coat. Wear a sweater. Wear socks. Wear thick gloves.
An infant as she sleeps between us. A tumble of dogs,
a kindle of cats and kittens. Come inside. You’re safe now.
A kettle boiling at the stove. Your family or friends are there. They smile.
Cocoa or chocolate, tea or coffee, soup or toddy, what you know you need.
A heat exchange, they give it to you, you take the mug
and start to thaw. While outside, for some of us, the journey began
as we walked away from our grandparents’ houses
away from the places we knew as children: changes of state and state and state,
to stumble across a stony desert, or to brave the deep waters,
while food and friends, home, a bed, even a blanket become just memories.
Sometimes it only takes a stranger, in a dark place,
to hold out a badly-knitted scarf, to offer a kind word, to say
we have the right to be here, to make us warm in the coldest season.
You have the right to be here.
In her beautiful book, Hearing Everyone’s Voice: Educating Young Children for Peace and Democratic Community, Susan Hopkins writes: “Building a sense of community requires the adults to value community, and to support and nurture its growth with the children in their care. Building democracy with children requires adults who have a vision of what they want for children – a world that values social equality and respect for individuals within the community. This vision is an essential first step; the second is helping children build the skills and values that allow them to contribute to such a world.”
Because we feel this topic is so important, we are offering everyone a chance to purchase Hearing Everyone’s Voice: Educating Young Children for Peace and Democratic Community for half price (only $15).
This is the perfect guidebook for integrating peace education, anti-bias perspective, and democratic practice into your curriculum.
|Use code VOICE when prompted.
Offer valid through January 28, 2020 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.
May not be combined with any other offer.
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ExchangeEveryDay is the official electronic newsletter for Exchange Press. It is delivered five days a week containing news stories, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.