Praise Song for Teachers

Praise Song for Teachers
by Reggie Finlayson

Like those who plow
the virgin soil,
hard as granite on northern shores,

like those whose mud-caked,
callused hands clear new ground
of rounded stones,

like those whose sown dreams
burst forth in
amber fields of grain,

like those whose weathered faces
set so proudly
‘gainst harsh winds,

like those stalwart stewards
of the farmlands
as teachers you too till,

for you break through
flinty ignorance, the hardest
jaded heart.

You clear away
the stony obstacles
crushing budding thoughts
and sow seeds
of knowledge, hope, and joy
that nourish the nations’ young.

So for fine teachers
in minds’ vineyards
do I sing a song of praise,
for it is you who grow,
out of the wretched and oppressed,
those who are redeemed.


Reggie Finlayson, a long-time member of the English and Teacher Education faculty at MATC, has distinguished himself as a writer and performer. He is the author of several books for young readers, including biographies of Nelson Mandela and Colin Powell. His credits as a playwright include “Joshua Glover; A Man Bound for Freedom”, “The Bagman’s Gift” and the poetic opera “Song of Sundiata”.

He was a member of the New World Griots writer’s collective, which featured spoken word performances in a variety of venues. He is a noted storyteller and percussionist who performed with the Ko-Thi African Dance Company for many years. His poetry often features political themes.

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