The Teacher´s Prayer

      The Teacher´s Prayer (fragment)

To César Duayen

Lord, you who taught, forgive me that I teach; forgive me that I bear the name of teacher, the name you bore on earth.

Grant me such devoted love for my school that not even beauty's flame will detract from my faithful tenderness.

Master, make my fervor longlasting and my disillusion brief. Uproot from me this impure desire for justice that still troubles me, the petty protest that rises up within me when I am hurt. Let not the incomprehension of others trouble me, or the forgetfulness of those I have taught sadden me.

Let me be more maternal than a mother; able to love and defend with all of a mother's fervor the child that is not flesh of my flesh. Grant that I may be successful in molding one of my pupils into a perfect poem, and let me leave within her my deepestfelt melody that she may sing for you when my lips shall sing no more.

Make me strong in my faith that your Gospel is possible in my time, so that I do not renounce the daily battle to make it live.

Let your luminous radiance descend upon my modest school as it did upon the barefoot children who surrounded you.

Make me strong even in my weakness as a woman, and particularly as a poor woman. Make me scorn all power that is not pure, and all duress that is not your flaming will upon my life.

Gabriela Mistral
Translated by Doris Dana

Desolación (1922)  
Original version