Last Day

Last Day 1, Animesh Basnet, Unsplash

Last Day (for the Student)

Students in the halls
Lockers clang open and shut.
Shouts of joy resound.

Last Day 2, Kyo Azuma, Unsplash

Last Day (for the Teacher)

Silence in the halls
A year becomes a mem’ry
It’s time to move on

About the poems

These were originally written June 5, 2006, when I was teaching in school, and this is the commentary I included in my journal:

This is what I observed today at school as the last final exam was finished and the students were dismissed. The students exuded pure joy as they bounded out of the classrooms to begin their summer break.

The second poem is the last day of the school year from the teacher’s perspective. I had a particular teacher in mind, Holly Shiveley, because she is moving away and will not be returning to this school next year. After all the students were gone, the halls indeed were silent. This silence lent to the moment both grief and relief—grief over the students and teachers that will be missed, but relief that yet another year, with all its stresses and labors, is behind us. I thought of making the last line read, “Time to look ahead.” This would give a lighter, more optimistic tone to the poem. However, for now I want to wallow in the emotions of the good-byes.


Copyright © 2018 Angela Umphers Rueger – All Rights Reserved

Japanese poetic form of 5-7-5 syllables, similar in appearance to a haiku, but the subject is human nature as opposed to nature in general.

Photos courtesy of Animesh Basnet and Kyo Azuma on Unsplash



10 thoughts on “Last Day

  1. Wow! I can’t tell you how much this hit me! I agree with Lynn. What you have is just perfect and your last line captures both the pensive remembering and moving on! You blended so beautifully the truth and feeling of that moment for teachers but also graduating seniors – a bittersweet moment.

    The bittersweet nature of this moment was impressed upon me by our senior adviser just before graduation when he said, “Look around and take in every face because this is the last time you will ever see everyone together! Sadly, that was a true statement and always is because in every graduation everyone takes there own path that leaves that moment in their yesterday. Brilliantly done!! Please do not change anything. It is a perfect portrait in verse and photos!
    Bellissimo, Angela, Bellissimo! You made me mist up!

    Liked by 1 person

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