Hope is a Yellow Butterfly

Friday, in the Advanced/TAG classes, we read the following two poems and had a Socratic Seminar discussion. Some of the topics that came up in the different classes were:
**Whose responsibility is it to stand up for those who are being bullied/persecuted?
**If it came down to it, would you save yourself or someone else in a catastrophe? Is the human instinct to survive stronger than the need to save loved ones?
**What does the butterfly stand for? How does someone keep or lose hope?

Well, as you know, I don’t add my own thoughts to these discussions, but I serve as a note-taker, feedback provider, and scorer. I was thinking about what all my students said about hope and the butterfly when I left school Friday evening. I looked toward the bushes behind the school and saw the butterfly pictured in the photo above. Can you find it? It’s so delicate that its wings look like leaves. So, as is often the case, the students have become the teachers and the teacher the student– Seeing that butterfly Friday afternoon was a gift, and I thought of Friedmann when I saw it, and I thought of you . . . all you wonderful discussers!

Thanks for a thoughtful, in-depth discussion Friday! I think you’re going to find something meaningful in this novel study. I learn something different every time I read it.

First They Came
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller

1. Do you think it’s always important to speak your mind, or do you think most of what we say should be filtered?

2. Have you ever had to speak up when it was difficult?

3. Whose responsibility is it to speak up for those who are being abused or persecuted?

The Butterfly

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow.
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone…

Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ‘way up high.
It went away I’m sure because it wished to
kiss the world goodbye.

For seven weeks I’ve lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto
But I have found my people here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut candles in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here,
In the ghetto.
Pavel Friedmann 4.6.1942

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