Robert Sward's "My Students" appears in his Kissing the Dancer and other poems (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1964), p. 41.
My Students

It is them. I jump up and down hard
Very glad to see them. Jesus Christ.
They whistle, hoot, applaud, proud of me.
Then for hours, days, semesters, weeks
I do not say anything. It happens
Early in September. I break off
In the middle of something. And I stop.
I have nothing more to say to them.
They accept the fact. And are patient.
Meanwhile, I allow them to smoke.
At any time I may start in again. I sense
Their faith in me. And the Word is not yet,
Will not take hold, is not upon me.

You can send Traister e-mail concerning this page at

Return to Daniel Traister's Home Page.