Evelyn Judy Buehler

March 18, 1953 - Chicago

At the Golden Dawn of Understanding

It was late in gorgeous springtime, and I was teaching my class,
A lesson in African history, and the events of time's hourglass.

My fourth graders were very attentive, as I recounted the glory,
Of tales such as Mansa Musa's, maybe the richest man in history!

Sultan of Mali was Mansa Musa, during the far off Middle Ages,
The world's largest gold producers maybe, say the history sages.

When Mali consisted of 400 cities, he was a patron of the arts.
Mansa Musa, in advancing science and literature, also took part.

A patron of architecture too, Mali flourished under his reign,
He made a legendary pilgrimage to Mecca, and gained more fame!

The children sat dreamy eyed, their captivation being steadfast,
Like the statues of ancient heroes, which look toward the past!

Then I began the tale of Ezana Axum, an ancient Ethiopian ruler,
Who in the fourth century AD, as a child, succeeded his father.

And he conquered the Kingdom of Kush, in approximately 350AD,
And was first monarch of the Kingdom, to embrace Christianity!

His childhood tutor, a Christian and missionary named Frumentius,
Later became head of the Ethiopian Church, for God is gracious.

'May this please the people,' was the motto of Aksumite coinage,
Showing concern for the citizenry, by appearances a royal sage.

From a design with a pagan motif, the coins later bore a cross,
For an absence of of God in kingdoms, creates the greatest loss!

We remember him as being a great builder, of obelisks and stelae,
Ethiopia's Orthodox Tewahedo Church, regards him as a saint today.

Since my class had grown awful quiet, I looked up from the book,
Where my class once was, now sat two pupils, with heedful looks!

We were in a very different room, smaller with just two windows,
I was teaching two African children, in fine traditional clothes.

The volume that I was holding, was now an entirely different one,
It was a book of children's stories, and apparently I wasn't done.

The children asked me eagerly, what happened to the rabbit next,
And since I understood their language, I began to read the text.

Soon I was enjoying myself, and we all discovered many things,
And I got a pristine look at ancient Africa, upon magical wings!

Later the classroom door opened, and in came a most noble figure,
Who was dressed very resplendently, and I welcomed our visitor.

Ezana Axum gives you thanks, he said as I began to understand,
As king of this great nation, its education makes my joy expand!

"I've come to see how you're progressing, my children," he said.
And he smilingly asked me, what it was that we had this day read.

I told him we had studied Egyptian history, and used the abacus,
Read fairytales, learned geography, and drawn pictures to discuss.

The school day had almost ended, except for a walk on the grounds,
For the pupils' daily exercise, and to enjoy nature sights and sounds.

I'd found a teacher's schedule on a table with supplies and books,
And I must have looked exactly like her, not to have gotten odd looks!

The king himself chose to join us, as he was so enjoying the day,
And we had a lively conversation, as his children began to play.

We talked of history, and of its great significance to the present,
And God's blessings, Jesus Christ's teachings, and what they meant!

Then discussed the value, of applying them to our every day lives,
Like a lifetime spent in planning, for the glad moment He arrives!

"Come children," said the father, "it is time for us to go home,"
And taking my hand he thanked me, for the lively chat we'd known.

I bowed my head in respect, in the afternoon lengthening shadows,
And said I'd enjoyed this day as no other, like when the sunset glows.

I stood in the parklike setting, then reluctantly turned to leave,
But in front of me sat my 4th grade class, like butterflies on breeze!

My long school day ended, and I fondly wished the class good evening,
Like beautiful blooming summer, bids a fond farewell to budding spring!
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