The Sum Of It Squared [potm]

Shane Koyczan
Spoken Word
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Poem of the Month

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“Everyone is getting ready for summer, and for a lot of students it will be a welcome reprieve from another challenging school year, but for some this will be the last magical summer. They won’t be going back to school, or they will, but it won’t be the school they grew up with. Some will take a break, while others will hop right back into the frying pan and wade into the waters of higher learning, but what is that? Education is a pretty broad territory, and for a lot of people it starts and ends with school. Not just high school, but college and university. I always felt that I wasn’t educated correctly. I was certainly taught the lessons they intended to teach me, but I wasn’t educated toward my talents or my interests. Life is a lot more than what is taught in school so I wanted to take a moment to address both life and education for those stepping into new territory for the first time… those who are leaving home and having to pay rent for the first time. Having to buy your own groceries, toilet paper, do laundry, clean the bathroom, get a job, support your family, do your taxes… there is a never ending to do list that you’re about to inherit and no one really talks to anyone about it. With all of our time being eaten up by the things we’re told we must do… how much of that time is left to apply to our pursuit of happiness… how do we find fulfillment with no time to go looking for it? A lot of that comes down to discovering who you are in the world. This month I pass on what little I’ve gleaned about the importance of education… both what it is as well as how it will shape you.”



The Sum Of It Squared

To discover the thing you’re brilliant at
you first have to endure discovering all of the things you’re average at

in discovering this
you will discover something about yourself

not all of it will be good

but some of it will be wonderful

I can promise no more than some of it
because there will be a contrast

some of it will be difficult

you will not be prepared for some of it

there will be lessons
both sharp and unforgiving

letter grades
will become the promises of those
upon whom you cannot rely


you will not receive an F
at falling in love
though you yet may fail
at loving the one you fall for

you will not receive an A+ at doubting yourself
though you will doubt yourself greatly

the tests you will come to face
will pit you against needles of terrible consequence

the night sky will not blaze with the light of gold stars for your achievements

you will be awarded nothing for your survival

pass fail will depend on how you view the world

if money is everything to you
but you have only a little
you may come to regard your life as a failure

but wealth comes in different forms

the form it becomes for you
will depend on what you value

if you prize knowledge
but have only a library card

you will be rich in a different way

your treasures will be dug
from pages of thought

chapters of imagination
will open to you like a friend

curiosity will become a trail
you follow deeper into yourself
and the world

your mind is an open hand
ready to grasp whatever proficiency you reach for

you are free to pursue whatever knowledge you wish

if an answer exists
it will be yours to find

important to note
there will not always be answers

there will be times when confusion falls all around you
descending in slow motion like shattered glass
raining wounds into your confidence

you may at times
feel abandoned by your own instincts

the needle of your moral compass
spinning directionless
as the polarities of joy and despair
change their minds about beliefs once held firm

some of your questions
will move you beyond the dimensions
or true or false

you will have multiple choices

every choice you make will lead to the doorstep
of the outcome you desire

there will not be a teachers copy
of the book of life

no secret chapter at the back
indexing solutions to the problems you face

there will be rewards
unexpected and dazzling

in the times most troubling to you

laughter will become a fortune
you pull from your own shadow
like candlelight from a womb of dark anguish

will become a jewel
sparkling against the intolerable might of isolation

a shining reminder
that you need never build walls
to keep trust at bay

some of it will be brilliant

some of it will spill from street lamps at night
as if weeping an incandescence

some of it will pool at your feet into a reservoir of valour meant to rescue you from
the inevitable eclipses of regret

there will be regret

you will hurt others
wether by accident or act of will

your simply being
will cause pain

you will not be able to mend all of the scars you birth

you may not care

but be cognizant
that while the present may never say it to your face
history will not shy to say it behind your back

you are
in the end
accountable for what you create

in composing fear
you will sculpt hate

in forging inspiration
you will author hope

each choice will present you with consequence or reward

from this point on
the most important questions you will be asked
are the questions you ask yourself

your education
begins with deciding what you wish to discover

in discovering this
you will discover something about yourself

not all of it will be good

there will be days of empty
that march through you like soldiers of diffidence
cheering on the surrender of your gallantry

the glory of this pain will exist in the fact that it is temporary
that whatever sorrow is aching to receive you

I promise you no more than some of it

some of it too
will be wonderful.